Ellsbury lifts Red Sox by Indians in ninth

Cleveland Indians' Ezequiel Carrera bumps into Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett as Beckett covers first to get Carrera out on a ground ball during the second inning at Fenway Park in Boston on Tuesday night, Aug. 2, 2011.
AP | Elise Amendola
Cleveland Indians' Ezequiel Carrera bumps into Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett as Beckett covers first to get Carrera out on a ground ball during the second inning at Fenway Park in Boston on Tuesday night, Aug. 2, 2011.
Posted Aug. 02, 2011, at 11:01 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 03, 2011, at 12:38 a.m.

BOSTON — Pinch-runner Jarrod Saltalamacchia dived across home plate to score the winning run on Jacoby Ellsbury’s single in the ninth inning and the Boston Red Sox beat the Cleveland Indians 3-2 on a rainy Tuesday night.

Jason Varitek singled with one out in the ninth against Vinnie Pestano (1-1) and Saltalamacchia ran for him. Josh Reddick followed with a single that sent Saltalamacchia to second.

Ellsbury then singled, setting up the play at the plate. Center fielder Eziquiel Cabrera threw home and catcher Carlos Santana caught the ball wide of the plate, but Saltalamacchia won the race and scored.

The start of the game was delayed by rain for one hour, 35 minutes.

Jonathan Papelbon (3-0) got the win after shutting down the Indians on just 10 pitches in the ninth. Boston posted its six walk-off win of the season.

Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall hit solo homers for Cleveland’s runs.

Indians starter David Huff gave up one unearned run and three hits in five innings, and tied his career high with six strikeouts. Huff has allowed just one earned run in three starts this season.

Boston scored in the second on a wild pitch that actually struck out Varitek. Huff followed that by striking out Darnell McDonald and Ellsbury.

Huff left with a 2-1 lead on Chisenhall’s homer into the right-field corner in the fourth.

Reliever Rafael Perez took over for the Indians in the sixth and the first batter he faced was Kevin Youkilis, who tied it at 2-all with a towering solo shot that hit one of the signs above the Green Monster.

Youkilis was ejected after his next at-bat, when he struck out on a checked swing and argued on his way back to the dugout.

Kipnis, who homered in his last at-bat Monday, drove the first pitch he saw from Josh Beckett into the Boston bullpen in the first to put the Indians up 1-0.

Beckett was pulled after six innings, allowing six hits and striking out seven.

NOTES: Indians RHP Carlos Carrasco said he planned to drop his appeal of a six-game suspension after he starts against the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night. Carrasco was suspended and fined $2,500 for throwing at the head of Kansas City’s Billy Butler last week. Newly acquired Ubaldo Jimenez will start Friday night at Texas and the Indians are off Monday, giving them some flexibility with their rotation. … Red Sox SS Marco Scutaro, who left Monday night’s game with dizziness, was sent for tests Tuesday that cleared him to play, but he was held out of the starting lineup by mana ger Terry Francona. Scutaro entered the game in the ninth inning after Youkilis’ ejection. Mike Aviles, who started at short, moved over to third. … Injured Boston SS Jed Lowrie is playing rehab games at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 1 for 3 Tuesday and could return soon.

Buchholz hopes to return

BOSTON — Clay Buchholz is hoping to pitch again this season, and Boston’s team doctor says there is a chance the righthander could return.

Buchholz visited Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles on Monday, and he confirmed the diagnosis of a stress fracture in his lower back. Watkins also left open the possibility of coming back this season, providing some peace of mind for Buchholz.

“All along they knew something was there,” Buchholz said before the Red Sox hosted the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night. “Yeah, it’s good to go to a guy and have him be so forward with it and say that it’s not a career-threatening thing and it’s not even a season-ending thing for me.

“At least I know there’s something there and I’m not just a big wuss.”

Red Sox Medical Director Tom Gill said Buchholz, whose latest problem arose the day after he threw in the bullpen July 25, has a stress fracture, which was suffered on top of a previous stress reaction in a different area, in his spine. He said the new injury is stable and Buchholz has responded to treatment.

Gill said it’s possible Buchholz could return to the rotation this season, but the starter won’t be cleared to even throw again until he completes a structured rehabilitation program.

“The question is, how much time does Clay then need to get major league ready?” Gill said, worrying about a place for a rehab start. “You have to remember (Triple-A) Pawtucket, their season will be over before the postseason so that’s going to be kind of an internal baseball decision and working with Clay and how much time he needs to get back.

“Once he’s medically cleared, he’s going to have to get baseball cleared.”

Buchholz, a 17-game winner last season, is 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA in 14 starts this year, and Boston began the day with a one-game lead in the AL East.

Buchholz, who was placed on the disabled on June 19, now begins a five-step program in what he said was a six-week process that would bring him back in September.

The uncertainty surrounding Buchholz played a key role in the Red Sox trading for lefthander Erik Bedard, who reported to his new team on Tuesday.

“This is a great opportunity, when I jump from last place to first place in a heartbeat,” Bedard said. “It’s fun. I’m just going to come here and do the best I can — try to win ballgames and help the team win.”

Bedard was acquired from the Seattle Mariners on Sunday in a three-team deal. He is 4-7 with a 3.45 ERA in 16 starts in 2011.

The Red Sox were close to obtaining Rich Harden from Oakland but backed out because of his medical report, then dealt for Bedard, who now gets a shot at his first trip to the postseason.

“It means the world,” he said, adding he has always loved playing in Fenway Park. “You play this game to be in the playoffs and be in the World Series and win the World Series. It’s a great opportunity and I’ll do the best I can.”

Bedard called the Red Sox “a great team,” adding “they have great guys here and we’re going to get far.”

Bedard just came off the DL on Friday after being sidelined with a sprained left knee. He recorded four outs and threw 57 pitches in a loss to Tampa Bay that night.

The plan is for him to throw 75 to 80 pitches in his first Red Sox start, then build up his arm strength from there.

The Red Sox optioned utilityman Drew Sutton to Pawtucket to add Bedard to the roster.

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