The Cleveland Indians couldn't have asked for a much better performance from starting pitcher Zach McAllister.
Recalled from Triple-A Columbus earlier in the day, McAllister's career-high eight strikeouts weren't enough to compensate for one of Cleveland's worst offensive games of the year. The Indians finished with just three hits, tying a season low in a 4-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night.
"I think I'd rather have less strikeouts with a 'W,'" McAllister said. "It's tough. I thought I was able to do a decent job of keeping our team in the game and was able to get the bullpen a little break, so I was definitely happy with that. But it happened. Hopefully we can bounce back tomorrow."
The Indians lost for the second straight night to the Red Sox, who are on a winning streak for the first time this month.
Felix Doubront pitched six strong innings and Cody Ross homered for Boston.
Doubront (3-1) allowed one run on three hits, which was all the Indians would get as relievers Andrew Miller, Vicente Padilla and Alfredo Aceves didn't allow a baserunner over the final three innings.
Aceves got his seventh save with a perfect ninth, striking out Carlos Santana to end it just 2 hours, 30 minutes after it started.
Doubront was pulled before the seventh after throwing 109 pitches through six innings. He walked two and struck out five.
"We couldn't get any offense going against Doubront. He was pitching to both sides of the plate," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. "He just neutralized all of our left-handed hitters and even our switch-hitters."
McAllister was still looking strong in the sixth, striking out Will Middlebrooks and Daniel Nava for two quick outs and had a 1-2 count on Ross, but he left the next pitch over the plate and Ross drove it all the way out of the park — clearing the Green Monster and sign above it with several feet to spare for his sixth homer of the season.
"I thought it was a decent pitch. Obviously it wasn't in far enough as I would have liked," McAllister said. "I just didn't get it in enough."
Dustin Pedroia put Boston up 1-0 in the third with a double high off the wall in left field, driving in Mike Aviles after he led off the inning with a single. David Ortiz followed with a line drive to deep left-center and rumbled his way to second safely for an RBI double.
Nava led off the fourth with a single, went to third on a Jarrod Saltalamacchia's ground-rule double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Aviles. The fly ball to left wasn't particularly deep and Shelley Duncan made a great throw to home, but Nava slid between catcher Lou Marsdon's legs just ahead of the tag.
Marsdon led off the sixth with a double to right, went to third on a fielder's choice and scored Cleveland's first run on Jason Kipnis' infield single. That was all Cleveland would score in its second straight loss.
Notes: McAllister was making just his second start of the season for the Indians. He was recalled earlier Saturday from Triple-A Columbus, less than a week after only other start — a win over the Chicago White Sox on May 7. ... Marsdon ended an 0-for-13 slump with a leadoff double in the sixth. ... Cleveland's Travis Hafner was thrown out in the second while trying to stretch a single into a double. ... The Indians placed RHP Josh Tomlin on the 15-day disabled list with soreness in his right wrist. The club filled his roster spot with McAllister. ... The Red Sox last won two in a row during a five-game streak from April 24-28.