BOSTON — The lead and the game were in Vinnie Pestano's hands in the eighth inning Saturday on a wet afternoon at Fenway Park. They each slipped away, but the fault wasn't entirely his.
Pestano allowed consecutive two-out RBI doubles to Mike Carp and Dustin Pedroia as Boston came from behind to beat the Indians 7-4. The Indians have lost four of their last five after winning 12 of their previous 15.
The Indians took a 4-3 lead in the seventh against Jon Lester when Mike Aviles scored on a wild pitch. Things were set up perfectly for the Tribe's top three relievers — Joe Smith, Pestano, and Chris Perez — which has seldom been the case in the first two months of the season.
Smith came out for the seventh and pitched a scoreless inning. The baton was passed to Pestano, but this is not the same Automatic Vinnie who dominated the eighth inning over the last two seasons. He just came off the disabled list on May 16 because of a sore right elbow and was only throwing between 87-88 mph Saturday.
Pestano retired Jose Iglesias to start the eighth, but Pedro Ciriaco sent a fly ball to left that gave Michael Brantley fits before it bounced off the Green Monster for a double. Pestano struck out Jacoby Ellsbury, but Carp, pinch-hitting for Jonny Gomes, doubled off the Monster to tie the score. Carp, who hit three-run homer off Justin Masterson in Friday's 8-1 victory, is hitting .500 (6-for-12) with six RBI against the Indians this season.
Pestano had Pedroia down in the count, 0-2, but hung a slider and Pedroia knocked it off the Monster for the lead. After loading the bases on an intentional walk to David Ortiz and an unintentional one to Mike Napoli, Pestano gave up a pop to Daniel Nava into short left. It seemed like a sure third out, but fell between Brantley and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera as two runs scored for a 7-4 lead.
It was Pestano's fourth appearance since he came off the DL. Asked how he felt, he said, "I'm throwing 87-mph fastballs right now, so that's something we gotta address."
Pestano (1-1) usually throws between 92 mph and 93 mph.
The Indians have been trying to keep Pestano sharp since he came off the disabled list. With their improved offense, the bullpen hasn't been used as much. Pestano felt the inactivity may have led to his elbow problems.
"It's becoming a common theme for me lately, coming in and not getting the job done," Pestano said.