The Sox have now won six straight overall, and they’ll return to Boston for a 10-game homestand, which kicks off on Friday.
Jon Lester tossed seven solid innings in Thursday’s victory. He allowed just two runs on four hits while striking out five and walking one.
The Red Sox’ offense got going in the second inning when Daniel Nava drove in Mike Napoli for the first of his two RBIs. Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli, Mike Carp and Jarrod Saltalamacchia also drove in runs, with Salty’s RBI coming on a fourth-inning home run (his third of the season). Napoli and Jacoby Ellsbury had two hits apiece.
The Indians managed to stay close for most of the game, but a three-run seventh-inning gave the Red Sox some breathing room.
The Red Sox return home for what should be an emotional game on Friday night, as it’ll be the Sox’ first home game since Monday’s tragedy.
Clay Buchholz will get the start on Friday. He’ll go up against James Shields in what figures to be quite the pitchers’ duel.
Friday’s game is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET. All of the action can be found on NESN. Be sure to tune in, and keep it right here with NESN.com for additional coverage.
Good night, everyone.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 6-3: The Indians turned to their closer, Chris Perez, in the ninth.
Perez hadn’t worked since Sunday, so Terry Francona decided to get him into the ballgame. The right-hander responded by retiring the Red Sox in order.
Perez struck out Shane Victorino looking and then got Dustin Pedroia to line out to right field. Mike Napoli also lined to right, and Ryan Raburn made a sliding grab to end the inning.
Andrew Bailey will look to close out the Tribe in the ninth.
End 8th, Red Sox 6-3: The Indians got to the Red Sox’ bullpen a little bit in the eighth.
Andrew Miller struck out Cord Phelps looking with a nasty 3-2 slider on the black, but he ran into some trouble after that. Miller walked Drew Stubbs after once again going to a full count, and he then surrendered a base hit to Michael Brantley.
With runners at first and second, Asdrubal Cabrera bounced a ground ball down to Pedro Ciriaco. Ciriaco made the play and stepped on the third-base bag. He thought about firing to first in an effort to complete a double play, but he ultimately thought better of the situation and settled for the lead out.
John Farrell then turned to Koji Uehara, who also pitched on Wednesday. Carlos Santana greeted Uehara with a double up over Shane Victorino’s head in right field. Brantley scored, but Cabrera held up after rounding third base.
Nick Swisher — representing the tying run — came up with two in scoring position, but he couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity to further chip away. Uehara struck out Swisher swinging on a low splitter, much to the delight of the Red Sox’ dugout.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-2: Bryan Shaw calmed things down for Cleveland in the eighth.
Shaw retired Stephen Drew, Pedro Ciriaco and Jacoby Ellsbury in order. Drew lined out to right, Ciriaco struck out swinging and Ellsbury rolled a ground ball over to first base.
Andrew Miller will take over for Boston in the bottom of the eighth.
End 7th, Red Sox 6-2: Jon Lester’s night is likely over, but it was another solid performance from the left-hander.
Lester enjoyed a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh. He capped it off with a strikeout of Mike Aviles.
Lester has thrown 115 pitches, so it’s safe to assume manager John Farrell will turn to the bullpen to try to close this one out.
Lester allowed just two runs on four hits while striking out five and walking one in seven innings of work.
With Lester’s performance, the Red Sox’ streak of starting success continues. Red Sox starters have allowed three runs or fewer in all 15 of the club’s games thus far.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 6-2: Mike Napoli’s RBI total continues to climb, Mike Carp once again proved he’s no slouch and the Red Sox added three runs to take a 6-2 lead.
After Jacoby Ellsbury singled to right field, Terry Francona made a pitching change, bringing in Bryan Shaw to replace Nick Hagadone.
Shane Victorino greeted Shaw with a ground ball to second base. Cord Phelps should have been able to at least record an out on the play, but his bobble allowed Ellsbury to move up to second and Victorino to reach at first.
Dustin Pedroia flew to right for the first out, but Mike Napoli fared better. Napoli drove a pitch that was up and away into right field to bring home Ellsbury with the fourth Boston run. Napoli now has a team-high 17 RBIs on the season.
Daniel Nava then lifted a fly ball to center field. Victorino tagged up and scored as the throw was cut off. Napoli actually managed to tag up and move to second base as well, which proved to be big.
Mike Carp pinch-hit for Jonny Gomes. Carp had just three at-bats entering Wednesday’s game, but he went 3-for-3 with three extra-base hits in that contest. His success has clearly carried over, as Carp singled into right field to bring Napoli around. Napoli slid in just ahead of Carlos Santana’s tag at the plate.
Jon Lester is coming back out to pitch the bottom of the seventh.
End 6th, Red Sox 3-2: Jon Lester is through six innings.
Asdrubal Cabrera led off the sixth with a bunt single down the third-base line, but Lester bounced back to get Carlos Santana to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. Santana’s grounder came with a big high hop that made it very easy for Stephen Drew to kick off the twin killing.
Nick Swisher hit one on a line to center with two outs. It hung up long enough for Jacoby Ellsbury to make a running play.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 3-2: Nick Hagadone took over in the sixth, and he made quick work of his former organization.
Hagadone got Jarrod Saltalamacchia to ground out and then struck out Stephen Drew.
Pedro Ciriaco gave one a ride to left field with two outs, but he got under it just a little bit too much, and Michael Brantley put it away to end the inning.
The book is closed on Cleveland starter Zach McAllister. He departed after five innings, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out seven and walking three.
End 5th, Red Sox 3-2: The Indians did another nice job of manufacturing a run in the fifth inning.
Mike Aviles put a charge into a ball to left field to lead off. It looked like it had a chance to leave the yard, but it ended up bouncing off the wall, resulting in a double.
Cord Phelps and Drew Stubbs then moved Aviles to third and eventually brought him home with back-to-back ground outs.
Jon Lester struck out Michael Brantley looking to end the inning.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 3-1: Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to eight games, Dustin Pedroia put together a fantastic at-bat and the Red Sox increased their lead.
Ellsbury smoked a one-out double up over Michael Brantley’s head in left field to get the offense going. Shane Victorino then took a hearty cut at a ball on the outside corner and drove it right back up the middle.
Ellsbury was initially waved home on Victorino’s single by third base coach Brian Butterfield, but he was then held up. It proved to be the right decision, as Drew Stubbs delivered a bullet to the plate that would have nailed Ellsbury.
Pedroia came up with runners at the corners and saw eight pitches before a singling into right field to score Ellsbury. Zach McAllister pounded the inside corner early in the at-bat, but he then went to the outside corner, at which point Pedroia went the other way with it. It was a nice piece of hitting by the Red Sox second baseman.
Victorino managed to get to third base on Pedroia’s single, and Pedey swiped second base while Mike Napoli struck out swinging. With first base open, the Indians opted to walk Daniel Nava and bring up Jonny Gomes. Gomes ended the inning with a ground out to first base.
McAllister has thrown 112 pitches in this game, and Nick Hagadone was up in the Cleveland bullpen, so we’ll certainly see a pitching change next inning.
End 4th, Red Sox 2-1: Mike Winters’ strike zone has benefited the pitchers for the most part, but Jon Lester grew a little upset with the umpire’s call on a 3-2 pitch to Mark Reynolds.
Reynolds worked a two-out walk after Lester got Carlos Santana and Nick Swisher on a fly out and ground out, respectively.
Lester made sure the walk didn’t affect him too much, though. He got Ryan Raburn to ground out.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 2-1: Zach McAllister went from having a very impressive inning to losing his lead.
McAllister struck out Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes to begin the fourth. The pitch that sat down Nava — a high, 3-2 fastball — will certainly lead to a little bit more questioning of the strike zone in this game.
After the two K’s, Jarrod Saltalamacchia went to a full count against McAllister. The Indians right-hander made a mistake to Saltalamacchia on the inner half of the plate, though, and Salty drove it over the right-field fence to make the game 2-1.
The home run is Salty’s third of the season.
End 3rd, 1-1: Jon Lester put together his first 1-2-3 inning in the third.
Lester got Drew Stubbs to fly out to right field before then picking up back-to-back strikeouts against Michael Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera.
If Brantley is a little upset about the pitch he struck out on, he has a point. Lester’s 3-2 offering on the eighth pitch of the at-bat looked a bit outside, but home plate umpire Mike Winters rung up Brantley.
Lester struck out Cabrera on a curveball down and away.
Mid 3rd, 1-1: Zach McAllister issued a four-pitch walk to Pedro Ciriaco to lead off the third inning, and then another free pass to Dustin Pedroia later in the frame, but he managed to work around them.
After Ciriaco’s walk, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a ground ball to the left side. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera made a nice play going into the hole, and he fired to second base to get the lead runner. With Ellsbury running, though, the Indians were unable to spin a double play.
Shane Victorino popped out for the second out before Pedroia worked his walk. With Pedroia at first and Ellsbury at second, the Sox put on a double steal, which worked out perfectly.
Mike Napoli, who leads the team with 16 RBIs, couldn’t add to his total. He saw eight pitches, but McAllister managed to strike him out on a high fastball to end the inning.
End 2nd, 1-1: The Indians have tied it up.
Pedro Ciriaco wasn’t charged with an error in the second, but his first attempt down at the hot corner was less-than-stellar. Ciriaco tried to make a backhanded play on Mark Reynolds’ ground ball down to third, but it kicked past him and rolled toward the seats along the left-field line, where a fan reached over and grabbed it. The play was ruled a ground-rule double.
Ryan Raburn, who misplayed a ball in right field back in the second inning, did a nice job of lifting a fly ball to right field to advance Reynolds to third. Reynolds then scored when Mike Aviles grounded to third base. Ciriaco gave Reynolds a look after making the play, but he ultimately decided to take the out at first base.
Nice job of manufacturing a run by the Tribe.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Mike Napoli continues to power the Boston offense.
Napoli, who entered the game hitting .324 over his last nine contests and leading the team in RBIs, lifted a high fly ball to right field to lead off the inning. Ryan Raburn ran back rather methodically, perhaps thinking he had the ball sized up, but the wind blew it all the way to the fence. The ball took a big bounce off the wall, which allowed Napoli to get all the way to third base with a triple.
It was a rare three-bagger for Napoli. He had two triples last season, but he entered the game with only six in his career.
Daniel Nava didn’t wait long to drive in Napoli. He turned on the first pitch he saw — a 91-mph fastball over the plate — and ripped it into right field for an RBI single. Napoli, understandably, was gassed after crossing the plate.
Zach McAllister bounced back after Nava’s single to retire three straight. Jonny Gomes bounced one to third base, and Mike Aviles made a nice play on a short hop before firing to second base to record a force out. Jarrod Saltalamacchia then popped out to the left side, and Stephen Drew struck out.
End 1st, 0-0: Carlos Santana has certainly evolved into one of the game’s bright young catchers. He put on a seven-pitch battle against Jon Lester before ripping a base hit into left field.
Santana was the only runner to reach against Lester, though.
The left-hander struck out Michael Brantley on a cutter down and out of the zone to begin the inning. Asdrubal Cabrera flew out to right for the second out, and then, after Santana’s single, Nick Swisher grounded out to Dustin Pedroia at second.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Red Sox hitters weren’t exactly thrilled with home plate umpire Mike Winters’ strike zone in the first inning.
Zach McAllister retired the Sox in order, getting the benefit of the doubt on a few calls throughout the frame.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia were each called out on strikes. In between, Shane Victorino — who reached base five times on Wednesday — grounded out to second.
McAllister’s first inning certainly went a lot more smoothly than Justin Masterson’s did on Wednesday. Masterson, of course, gave up three runs before recording an out.
7:05 p.m.: Zach McAllister’s first pitch to Jacoby Ellsbury is outside, and we’re underway.
7 p.m.: The Red Sox can’t afford to look past Thursday’s game in Cleveland, but Friday night should be pretty special over at Fenway Park.
We already saw how moving the scene was at TD Garden on Wednesday when the Bruins hosted the Sabres in their first game since Monday’s tragedy. I’m sure there will be a similar display of support for the city of Boston at Fenway on Friday.
The Red Sox have already placed a “B Strong” logo on the Green Monster. It’s the same logo many people are using as their Twitter or Facebook photos, and it’ll certainly set the scene over at Fenway.
Now, with everyone still trying to overcome Monday’s horrific events, is a perfect time for a 10-game homestand.
6:13 p.m.: The lineup cards are in, and Will Middlebrooks will get a day off.
Middlebrook, who has played in all 14 of Boston’s games thus far, is just 2-for-30 hitting three home runs against the Blue Jays on April 7. Overall, he’s hitting .182 (10-for-55).
Pedro Ciriaco will play third base in Middlebrooks’ place and bat ninth.
Jackie Bradley Jr. will also be out of the lineup once again, and there’s a good chance he’ll be sent down, with David Ortiz ready to return Friday.
The complete lineups are below.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF
Jonny Gomes, DH
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Stephen Drew, SS
Pedro Ciriaco, 3B
Jon Lester, LHP
Michael Brantley, LF
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Carlos Santana, C
Nick Swisher, 1B
Mark Reynolds, DH
Ryan Raburn, RF
Mike Aviles, 3B
Cord Phelps, 2B
Drew Stubbs, CF
Zach McAllister, RHP
6 p.m.: We’re a little over an hour away from Thursday’s first pitch, but Red Sox fans have already received some good news. Manager John Farrell said that “all signs point to” David Ortiz returning to the Sox on Friday.
Boston is rolling right now, having won five in a row entering Thursday’s series finale against the Indians, but Ortiz would certainly be a welcome addition to the lineup. He should add some much-needed pop, and his left-handed power bat should be a good compliment to Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks — both righties — in the middle of the order.
Ortiz went 4-for-18 during his rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket. While he only had one extra-base hit, it came on Thursday in what is likely his final at-bat of the rehab assignment. Ortiz launched a 1-0 fastball over the right-field fence for a home run.
8 a.m. ET: The Red Sox are firing on all cylinders right now, but it’s the starting pitching that remains most impressive.
With Alfredo Aceves allowing three earned runs over five innings on Wednesday, Red Sox starters have now allowed three earned runs or fewer in all 14 of the team’s games. That’s a pretty amazing start to the season for a team that was plagued by pitching woes throughout all of last season, especially since the starting rotation is mostly the same as last year’s unit.
Jon Lester will take the ball for his fourth start of the season on Thursday against the Indians. He’s been tremendous in his first three starts, although he didn’t factor into the decision his last time out. Lester enters the contest 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA, and he and Clay Buchholz have formed a lights-out 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation to kick off the new year.
Lester will be opposed by Zach McAllister, who carries a 1-1 record and a 2.19 ERA into Thursday’s game.
Thursday’s action is scheduled to start up at 7:05 p.m. ET. Be sure to tune in to NESN, and keep it right here with NESN.com as the Red Sox look to complete a sweep of the Indians.