While Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez of the Red Sox didn't soar to a new level, at least they got off the ground. The same cannot be said for Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor of the Indians.
Boston pounded the Indians, 7-0, Thursday for the second straight day to earn a split. The Indians could be happy with playing the team with baseball's best record in baseball to a standstill, but after winning the first two games they had two chances to take the series and failed.
A bit more concerning is that Ramirez and Lindor were neutralized by Boston's pitching staff. That does not bode well should these two teams meet in the postseason.
Ramirez and Lindor went a combined 5-for-31 with no homers or RBI. Lindor went 3-for-17 with three runs. Ramirez went 2-for-14 with one run.
Betts, the AL leader in batting average, went 5-for-17. Martinez, tied for the AL lead in homers, went 6-for-14 with four RBI.
Thursday belonged to lefty David Price, who dominated the Indians once again. He's 11-2 against the Tribe in his career. In his last eight regular season starts against them he's 6-1.
Price (14-6, 3.50) pitched eight scoreless innings, allowing three hits with seven strikeouts. He's 5-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his last seven starts.
Boston, which leads the big leagues with 90 wins, won it with a six-run fifth against rookie Adam Plutko (4-4, 5.09). Blake Swihart, Xander Bogaerts and Eduardo Nunez hit two-run doubles in the inning.
Adam Cimber, who relieved Plutko with the bases loaded, gave up two of those doubles. Bogaert bounced a ball over Ramirez's head at third, while Nunez doubled past first.
Plutko allowed five runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings. There was no score when he started the fifth, but Boston changed that in a hurry.
What it means
The Indians lost ground to the idle Astros in their quest to host the best-of-five ALDS in October. Thursday's loss dropped them to four games behind the Astros, who hold a one-game lead in the AL West over Oakland.
Oakland visited Target Field on Thursday night to open a four-game series against the Twins.
Plutko threw 101 pitches, 65 (64 percent) for strikes. Price threw 101 pitches, 65 (64 percent) for strikes.
Thanks for coming
The Indians and Red Sox drew the fourth straight sellout crowd of 37,396 to Fenway Park on Thursday. First pitch was at 1:05 p.m. with a temperature of 72 degrees.
The Indians open a three-game series against the Royals on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium. Mike Clevinger (9-7, 3.25) will face Kansas City's Brad Keller (6-5, 3.32) in the opening game. First pitch is at 8:15 p.m. and SportsTime Ohio, WTAM 1100 and WMMS 100.7 FM will carry the game.
Clevinger, coming off a win over the Orioles, is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two starts against the Royals this season. Corey Kluber and Shane Bieber are scheduled to start for the Indians on Saturday and Sunday.