CLEVELAND (AP) _ Boston’s offense helped Jon Lester put a halt
to his losing streak.
Lester struck out 12 over six innings for his first win in six
weeks and the Red Sox cranked out 16 hits in routing the Cleveland
Indians 14-1 Sunday to salvage a four-game split.
“A laugher and we needed it,” manager Bobby Valentine said.
“The guys had a good time.”
Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer and two-run double. Carl
Crawford had three RBIs and three of Boston’s seven doubles. Mike
Aviles had three hits and scored three runs.
Best of all, Lester (6-10) earned his first win since beating
Toronto on June 27. Between wins, he was 0-5 with a 7.49 ERA.
“It’s nice to win,” said Lester. “My confidence never
strayed. I knew my stuff was there. I had to keep telling myself
“Scoring all those runs helps,” he added. “It takes pressure
off me to try and be perfect.”
Boston built a 6-1 lead against Corey Kluber (0-1) and scored
its most runs since hammering Miami 15-5 in an interleague game
“We sure hit a lot of balls in the gap,” Valentine said. “I
liked it. I liked it a lot.”
Lester was on cruise control with the lead. He gave up three
hits and one run to move to 5-1 lifetime against Cleveland though
Boston won for only the fourth time in 12 games.
Cleveland is 3-2 after falling from contention in the AL Center
with 11 straight losses.
“It was catch-up baseball from the get-go,” Indians manager
Manny Acta said. “It’s not fun at all when you come to the plate
and you’re down by five runs.”
Lester threw his fastball on both sides of the plate and mixed
in a sharp curve. It was his 17th career game of 10 or more
strikeouts, one behind Joe Wood, who is third in Red Sox history
behind Pedro Martinez (72) and Roger Clemens (68).
“He started using his curve in the third inning and that made
all the difference,” Valentine said.
The left-hander posted at least 15 wins each of the past four
seasons, going 65-32 overall, but opened this year 0-2, including
an embarrassing 18-3 loss to Texas on April 17 in which he gave up
seven runs over two innings.
He went 5-3 over the next two months before enduring the
toughest stretch of his career.
“You come to a point where you have to forget stats and just go
out and try to keep your team in the game,” Lester said. “Let
this offense get a chance.”
Boston batters gave Lester some space, staking him to a 3-0 lead
in the first. Dustin Pedroia had an RBI double and scored on
Gonzalez’s 13th homer.
A sacrifice fly by Carlos Santana cut it to 3-1 in the bottom
half. Lester was happy to give up only one run after singles by
Jason Donald and Asdrubal Cabrera put runners on first and third
with no outs.
“To minimize it to one run with no outs was big,” Lester said.
“That’s what I have been missing.”
Then the Red Sox poured it on.
Crawford lined a two-run double in the second and ex-Indian
Kelly Shoppach’s broken-bat RBI single in the fourth made it 6-1.
An eight-run fifth off relievers Josh Tomlin and Frank Herrmann
featured two-run doubles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Gonzalez. Cody Ross
and Jarrod Saltalamacchia each hit RBI singles, Danny Valencia had
a sacrifice fly and Crawford another RBI double.
Tomlin, dropped from the rotation on July 31, will have his
right elbow examined in Cleveland and will not make the Indians’
trip that begins Monday in Los Angeles. He didn’t pitch last
September due to a sore elbow and admitted Sunday he had not told
Acta that it’s bothered him for more than a month.
“I felt like I could go out there and get outs,” Tomlin said.
“Apparently I couldn’t. It didn’t hurt every single day, but there
were days it did hurt.”
It was the eighth time since the All-Star break that Cleveland
gave up 10-plus runs. The Indians are 9-21 and their starting
rotation has a 6.71 ERA over that stretch.
Kluber gave up six runs and seven hits over 3 1-3 innings, his
shortest outing in three career starts.
NOTES: Boston 3B Will Middlebrooks does not need surgery on his
broken right wrist, though he is still likely out for the season.
… Gonzalez had eight RBIs in the series and 22 in his last 16
games overall. … Santana moved from first base to left field in
the sixth, his first outfield appearance in 300 career games. He
last played there in 2008 in Class-A ball. … Boston reliever
Clayton Mortenson struck out in the ninth. He batted after
Valentine rested players with the big lead and lost use of the
designated hitter in a series of lineup changes. … The Indians
released INF Jose Lopez, who was designated for assignment Aug. 7.
They released OF Johnny Damon and RHPs Derek Lowe and Jeremy
Accardo earlier in the week. … Cleveland opens a nine-game trip
to Los Angeles, Oakland and Seattle on Monday. … The Red Sox
continue their nine-game trip with three-game series at AL rivals
Baltimore and New York.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)