BOSTON — Jacoby Ellsbury never had a game-winning hit before this week.
Now he has two in as many games.
One night after his ninth-inning single drove in the game-winning run, the Red Sox center fielder homered with two outs in the ninth Wednesday to give the Boston Red Sox a 4-3 win over the Cleveland Indians.
“The guy’s got us two nights in a row,” said Indians reliever Joe Smith (2-2), who retired the first two batters in the ninth before Ellsbury hit an 0-1 pitch over the wall in straightaway center.
Asked if the pitch was where he wanted it, Smith said: “Four hundred and fifteen away to the middle of center? No.”
Jonathan Papelbon (4-0) pitched a perfect ninth for Boston, which won for the 10th time in 13 games. Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez each had two hits, and Tim Wakefield took a three-hitter into the seventh but could not collect career victory No. 200.
Jason Kipnis homered for the fourth straight day for Cleveland, which lost for the 10th time in 13 games to fall to .500 for the first time since the fourth game of the year. Starter Carlos Carrasco allowed three runs — two earned — and nine hits and three walks while striking out five before leaving with the game tied 3-all in the eighth inning.
Tony Sipp struck out two in a perfect eighth, and then Smith retired pinch-hitter Darnell McDonald and No. 9 hitter Marco Scutaro before Ellsbury, who was 0 for 4 in the game, came to the plate. Ellsbury, who hit a one-out single to win it Tuesday, drove it over the high wall in center.
“I realized it was the ninth inning and I had been 0 for 4 both games. I’m just trying to get on base,” he said. “The last two days have been pretty good.”
Wakefield took a 3-2 lead into the seventh inning with a chance for his 200th win, but he gave up doubles to Lonnie Chisenhall and Ezequiel Carrera to tie it. Red Sox manager Terry Francona headed to the mound, leading Wakefield to pound his fist in frustration and drawing boos from the crowd.
The fans cheered Wakefield as he left the field, but he did not react. He allowed three runs and five hits and two walks in all, striking out six in 6 2-3 innings.
“It’s hard,” Francona said. “I knew what it meant to the fans wanting to see it — and so do I — and to him personally. But you do what you have to do to try and win the game.”
The right-handed knuckleballer, who turned 45 Tuesday and is the oldest active player in the majors, will have another chance at becoming the 108th pitcher with 200 wins — the 89th since 1900. It is expected to come Monday or Tuesday night.
Carrasco, who had lost five straight starts, was suspended six games and fined $2,500 for throwing at the head of Kansas City’s Billy Butler on Friday night. He said he would drop his appeal and begin the suspension after Wednesday night’s game.
Notes: The teams are back for game four of the series on Thursday night, when newly acquired starter Erik Bedard will face former Red Sox pitcher Justin Masterson. Masterson is 3-3 with a 1.76 ERA in his past 11 games (10 starts). He was part of the deal that brought Victor Martinez to Boston at the 2009 trading deadline. In three career starts against his former team, he is 2-0 with a 1 .25 ERA. … Bedard only went 1 1-3 innings and gave up five runs in his previous start, for Seattle against Tampa Bay — his first start since coming off the DL (sprained left knee). … To make ro om for Jimenez on the roster, the Indians optioned LHP David Huff to Triple-A Columbus. … Indians OF Michael Brantley was given the night off to rest his sore right wrist. … Kipnis is the first Indians rookie to homer in four straight games since Al Rosen in 1950, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … Pedroia was the AL player of the month for July, with 46 hits in the month. … Boston SS Marco Scutaro was back in the lineup after sitting out Tuesday’s game with dizziness. … The Red Sox batter with game-ending hits on consecutive days of the regular season was Butch Hobson in 1978, though David Ortiz did it in the 2004 playoffs against the New York Yankees.