CLEVELAND -- An agonizing opening road trip for the Red Sox ended with another gut punch.
Just when it seemed the elusive rally was coming, J.D. Drew's single off the leg of Indians closer Chris Perez didn't prolong the game for his team, but instead only the agony.
The ball caromed off of Perez, and third baseman Adam Everett didn't get to it in time to get Drew at first. But pinch-runner Darnell McDonald fell down taking a turn past second and was tagged out for the game's final out, providing a stunning conclusion to a 1-0 loss to the Indians.
"I'm trying to be aggressive," said McDonald, who almost got back to second in time. "I'm trying to make them make the throw, lost my footing out there and just got caught in no-man's land. I was just trying to be aggressive and make them make the throw to first base."
For the first time since 1945 -- and just the fourth time in team history -- the Red Sox are off to an 0-6 start.
In 2009, the Red Sox endured a six-game losing streak, and extended losing skids are nothing new to championship-caliber teams. Before they met in last year's Fall Classic, the Rangers went six games without a win, while the eventual World Series champion Giants lost seven straight.
Manager Terry Francona's team hopes to stem the tide on Friday afternoon, when they open their 81-game Fenway Park schedule with the renewal of their rivalry with the Yankees.
"I'm frustrated," said second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "We all went to bed at 3 o'clock. We don't just put our head on the pillow at 11:30 and go to sleep and say everything's great. We've got 15 All-Stars or whatever we've got on this team. That's not how it is, man. This is our lives. We all bring this [stuff] home with us man. We care. We'll figure it out. We have to. We don't want to let anyone down."
Just as tough as the way the game ended was how Cleveland broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the eighth.
After seven brilliant innings from Jon Lester (three hits, no runs, nine strikeouts), Daniel Bard came on for the eighth. He got off to a bad start, walking No. 9 hitter Everett, who stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Orlando Cabrera.
"You can't do that in that situation," said Bard.
Then, Asdrubal Cabrera worked the count to 2-1 and dropped down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt down the third-base line. The only play Kevin Youkilis had was at first, and Everett scored easily.
The 97-mph outside heater wasn't an easy pitch for Cabrera to drop down.
"It was really away," Cabrera said. "I just tried to put the ball in play -- no matter what kind of pitch. You can't wait for a pitch. It wasn't a perfect pitch, but I was able to do it."
While Bard said he wasn't expecting the squeeze, Francona figured the Indians would roll the dice with it at some point during the at-bat.
"If we elect to pitch out and we don't get the exact pitch, now we've got first and third and we're in worse shape," Francona said. "No, you've got to figure at some point they might try it."
It was just the latest example of very little going right for the Red Sox since the season started.
"A lot of things aren't going our way right now," Lester said. "We're hitting a lot of balls hard that are right at guys, and when we're not hitting balls hard, they're not falling in. Right now, we're just not living right. I don't know what's going on. We're going to continue to show up every day and play hard, and we did that today. It's not like we're not trying. We've just got to keep grinding it out."
Indians righty Fausto Carmona matched Lester pitch for pitch, allowing Boston just two hits over seven innings.
After being swept by the defending American League champions in Texas, the Red Sox suffered the same fate in Cleveland, scoring just five runs over three games.
"We're frustrated, because we never thought we'd be here, but we are here," said Youkilis. "So we've got to deal with it. It's one of those things in life where life's going to give you some adversity and you've got to adjust to it. This is the time where adversity has hit us. We're going to have to do it at home."
The best thing the Red Sox have going for them at this point is the calendar. Sure, it's not the start they wanted, but there's 156 games to go.
"I'm sure it'll get beaten to death as far as it's a long season," said Lester. "That's kind of the nice part about baseball. We've got a lot of time to figure this stuff out. Hopefully we can do it tomorrow. Like I said, all we can do is go out there and grind it away, and the rest will take care of itself."
The next challenge is a big one in the form of the Yankees.
"We'll figure it out," vowed Pedroia. "We're going to win a lot more games than we're going to lose, I'll tell you that. We're not going to be 0-162."