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10/16/07 12:00 AM ET

Red Sox Short Hops: Game 3

Dice-K off his game; bats don't come through for Boston

CLEVELAND -- Fielding Boston's 4-2 Game 3 loss to Cleveland on a short hop.

In < 25 words ...
Boston's bats went limp against Cleveland starter Jake Westbrook, who put the Red Sox behind, 2-1, in the series.

Frozen moment
In the fourth inning, Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez drilled a 2-2 offering from Westbrook toward shortstop Jhonny Peralta. David Ortiz, who doubled off the wall in left field one batter earlier, started to run for third base, but hesitated in an effort to dodge the baseball. Instead, the ball bounced off Ortiz, resulting in a costly out for the Red Sox and a strange single for Ramirez.

Big number
14 -- Boston grounded into 14 outs, including three inning-ending double plays, through six innings against Westbrook.

Game balls

Jason Varitek

Varitek is just 1-for-10 through the first three games against the Indians, and Boston's catcher had a rough start on Monday night, too. He flew out to left field with the bases loaded in the second inning and then grounded out in the fifth. In the seventh, though, Varitek jumped on a 2-2 pitch from Westbrook, sending it sailing over the center-field wall for a two-run home run.

Mike Timlin

Timlin was called in from the bullpen in the fifth to replace Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, who turned in an inconsistent outing. With runners on first and second base and two outs, Timlin struck out Cleveland's Ryan Garko to escape the threat. In the sixth, the veteran right-hander set down the Indians in order, and the Red Sox answered with two runs a half-inning later.


Matsuzaka lasted just 4 2/3 innings for the second straight start in the playoffs. The Japanese right-hander started off strong, setting down the first three batters he faced, including strikeouts to Asdrubal Cabrera and Travis Hafner. But Cleveland's Kenny Lofton touched Dice-K for a two-run homer in the second inning, and the Indians drove his pitch count to 101 before the end of the fifth.

Sense of October
When the calendar flips to October, teams can't afford to take too many risks. That was evident in the fifth inning on Monday, when Red Sox manager Terry Francona strolled out to the mound and pulled Matsuzaka with two outs. With Boston behind, 4-0, Dice-K's final pitch was sent into left field for a single by Victor Martinez, prompting Francona to pull the plug.

Lines of the Game
4 AB, 1 H, 1 HR, 2 RBIs
Comment: Varitek provided the only spark in an otherwise dormant showing by Boston's offense.

4 2/3 IP, 4 R, 6 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 1 WP, L
Comment: Dice-K had a decent start to his latest outing, but the Tribe made him throw a lot of pitches.

"We stunk tonight. That's about it. You play this game all year for this. It's tough, man, but we'll bounce back. That's why it's a seven-game series." -- Dustin Pedroia

Next step
Boston will send knuckleballer Tim Wakefield to the mound on Tuesday night in an attempt to even the American League Championship Series at two games apiece. Cleveland will counter with right-hander Paul Byrd, who defeated the Yankees in Game 4 of the AL Division Series.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.