The Indians' Game 1 postseason jinx ended after Pedro Martinez left the game.
Travis Fryman's RBI single with one-out in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Cleveland a 3-2 win Wednesday night over the Boston Red Sox, who may have lost their ace Martinez for the remainder of the AL playoffs.
The Indians had lost eight straight series opening games, dating back to the division series against Boston in 1995 before Fryman's clutch bases-loaded base hit.
Martinez, baseball's most dominant pitcher this season, pulled a back muscle and had to leave the game after the fourth inning. He is listed as day-to-day and Boston manager Jimy Williams said the right-hander would be re-examined by doctors on Thursday.
"Anytime you face Pedro, he's tough. He's the best pitcher I ever faced. You look up there in the sixth inning and you don't see him out there, it gives you a little pick-me-up."
Nomar Garciaparra homered for the Red Sox, who despite dominating the regular-season series against Cleveland have now lost four straight playoff games to the Indians.
Lowe, who replaced Martinez in fifth, got the loss. He hit Manny Ramirez in the back with a 2-2 pitch to open the ninth, and Rheal Cormier relieved. One out later, pinch-hitter Wil Cordero singled to right in his first career postseason at-bat.
Sexson, who had 116 RBIs this season, pinch-hit for David Justice and was walked on four pitches by Garces. Fryman, who was on the DL twice this year with a torn ligament in his right knee, then slapped a 1-2 pitch to left for the game-winner.
Fryman, who could hardly walk a month ago, was mobbed by his teammates as he rounded first.
"This was one of the things that I used as motivation," Fryman said of his rehabilitation from the injury.
Mike Stanley had three of Boston's five hits and Garciaparra had the other two.
|It was Pedro Martinez's back, not the Indians, that forced him out of the game.|
He allowed three hits and twice retired Ramirez, the majors' RBI leader, to end an inning with a runner in scoring position.
In the fourth, he retired Justice on a grounder to the right side, covering first on the play for the putout. He appeared to be OK as he left the field, but when Boston manager Jimy Williams called Boston's bullpen to get Lowe throwing, it was obvious Martinez was coming out.
"We were excited," Thome said. "Pedro was pitching a real good game. "To get him out of the game like that, it livened uup."
But as tough as Martinez had been on the Indians this year, Lowe was just as nasty.
Cleveland was just 1-for-30 against the right-hander with Roberto Alomar's single in an April 24 giving the Indians their only baserunner.
Lowe coasted through the fifth and got two outs in the sixth before Ramirez hit a grounder to third that John Valentin fielded cleanly. However, his throw was in the dirt, and Ramirez was safe, ending a streak of 31 straight Indians retired by Lowe.
Thome wasted no time, crushing Lowe's next pitch 434 feet to tie it 2-2, and giving the Indians their first momentum of the night.
In the seventh, Justice caught Troy O'Leary's drive against the wall in left and quickly got the ball back into the infield as the Indians doubled up Garciaparra who was halfway to third when the ball was caught.
Garciaparra said Tuesday he wasn't fully recovered from being struck on the right wrist with a pitch against Baltimore late last month. But he looked fine on his first swing of the series, hitting a 2-1 pitch from Colon over the wall in center.
It was Garciaparra's sixth homer this season against the Indians, who planned to pitch around him when possible. Garciaparrra, who led the AL with a .357 average, was even tougher on Cleveland, batting .451 with nine extra-base hits and 17 RBIs.
Garciaparra led off the fourth with a double, and one out later scored on Mike Stanley's single to left.
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