In stark contrast to Wednesday night's NL Wild Card pitchers duel, offense was showcased as the Red Sox and Indians opened the ALDS Thursday night.
Boston and Cleveland exchanged solo homers and relied heavily on their bullpens in an exciting series opener, but the Indians prevails in the end 5-4 thanks to some stellar relief pitching.
The Red Sox struck first in Game 1, as a Hanley Ramirez double plated one — initially it looked like it would score two but Brock Holt was ruled out at the plate after a review. Leading 1-0, Rick Porcello allowed his first run on the second when Lonnie Chisenhall drove in a run.
Rookie Andrew Benintendi his a solo blast to put the Red Sox back up 2-1 in the third, but three solo bombs from Cleveland put them up after the third.
Roberto Perez, Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor each went yard that frame, putting them up 4-2.
Sandy Leon went deep — the fifth solo shot of the game — in the fourth inning, leading to the surprise removal of Trevor Bauer in favor of Andrew Miller. Miller surrendered a double and a walk, but struck out David Ortiz to keep Cleveland ahead.
The Sox followed suit, pulling Porcello in favor of Drew Pomeranz. It proved to be a wrong move, as the Indians added a run on an RBI single from Kipnis after the pitching substitution. The lefty was, however able to work his way out of a bases-loaded jam.
In the eighth, the game's sixth solo shot came off the bat of Holt, prompting Cleveland to turn to closer Cody Allen who limited the damage, keeping the Indians ahead 5-4.
Allen got all five outs he was asked to get, shutting the door for the win after a Benintendi two-out single in the bottom of the ninth. The final out was a controvercial appealed strike three on a bouncing pitch that Pedroia attempted to hold up on.