Sox Complete Sweep of Indians, Win 6th Straight
CLEVELAND — Jon Lester pitched seven strong innings, Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a tiebreaking home run in the fourth and the Boston Red Sox got their sixth straight win with a 6-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday.
The Red Sox return home to play Kansas City on Friday night, their first game at Fenway Park since Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon.
Lester (3-0) held the Indians to two runs and four hits. Daniel Nava had two RBIs while Saltalamacchia, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli and Mike Carp each drove in a run.
Indians manager Terry Francona, who managed in Boston for eight seasons and led the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007, was swept in the first series against his former team. Cleveland has lost four straight.
Zach McAllister (1-2) allowed three runs in five innings.
Andrew Bailey pitched the ninth for his second save.
The Red Sox are expected to have designated hitter David Ortiz in the lineup for the first time this season Friday in what surely will be an emotional evening as Boston continues the healing process after Monday’s tragedy. The 37-year-old slugger has been nursing an injured right Achilles.
The Indians, who went 2-6 on their first homestand, open a 10-game trip Friday in Houston. Cleveland’s struggling offense has scored nine runs in the losing streak.
Lester, who struck out five and walked one, has won his first three decisions for the third time in his career.
Saltalamacchia’s two-out homer broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth. The line drive to right field landed in Boston’s bullpen and came after McAllister struck out Nava and Jonny Gomes to start the inning.
After Saltalamacchia’s home run put the Red Sox ahead for good, Pedroia’s run-scoring single in the fifth gave Boston a two-run lead. The Red Sox put it away with a three-run seventh.
The second inning started when Napoli’s wind-blown fly ball drifted over the head of right fielder Ryan Raburn, who missed on a leaping attempt at the wall. The ball rolled back toward the infield and the slow-footed Napoli lumbered into third.
Mike Aviles’ RBI groundout tied the game in the bottom of the inning. Mark Reynolds led off with a double, took third on a fly ball and scored on Aviles’ grounder to short.
McAllister issued his first two walks of the season in the third to Pedro Ciriaco and Pedroia, but struck out Napoli to end the inning.
Napoli, who has a seven-game hitting streak, was 6 for 15 with six RBIs, three doubles, a triple and three runs scored in the series.
Jacoby Ellsbury started the fifth-inning rally with a double and stopped at third on Shane Victorino’s single. Pedroia lined a 3-2 pitch to right that scored Ellsbury.
Bailey, who also saved Wednesday’s game, retired all six batters he faced in the two appearances.
Cleveland added a run in the fifth on Drew Stubbs’ groundout. Napoli, Nava and Carp, a pinch-hitter had RBIs in the seventh. Carlos Santana had an RBI double in the eighth for Cleveland, but Koji Uehara struck out Nick Swisher with two on to end the threat.
Ortiz homered Thursday in the final game of a rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket. …. Boston 3B Will Middlebrooks, hitless in his past 13 at-bats, wasn’t in the lineup Thursday. Ciriaco started at third. … Farrell said RHP John Lackey (strained biceps) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday and if that goes well, he will pitch on a rehab assignment Monday. … Indians manager Terry Francona said 2B Jason Kipnis (sore left elbow) could return to the lineup Friday against Houston. Kipnis missed his fifth straight game Thursday. … Francona said OF Michael Bourn (lacerated right index finger) is doing exercises to strengthen his hand. Bourn was placed on the 15-day DL on Wednesday.
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