Final, Red Sox 5-2: The Red Sox have begun their seven-game homestand on a positive note.
Koji Uehara worked a scoreless ninth inning to put the finishing touches on a 5-2 win.
Jon Lester was excellent in his first start since getting beat up by the Tigers last Saturday. Lester allowed just two runs (one earned) on eight hits while striking out four and walking one.
David Ortiz went deep for Boston. He crushed his 15th home run of the season into the center field bleachers in the fifth inning.
Daniel Nava had three hits. Brock Holt, Mike Napoli and Jonathan Herrera each produced two, and the Red Sox finished with 12 hits as a team.
The Indians made some noise with a two-run sixth inning, but Holt quickly swung the momentum back in Boston’s favor with a two-run double to left field in the bottom half of the frame.
The Red Sox and Indians will battle again Friday. John Lackey will face Justin Masterson in a rematch of last week’s showdown.
End 8th, Red Sox 5-2: It’s Koji time.
Jonathan Herrera reached on an infield single in the eighth inning, but the Red Sox were unable to produce any more runs.
Koji Uehara now enters with Boston holding a three-run lead.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 5-2: Jon Lester exited in the eighth inning after surrendering a two-out single. It was a job well done by the Boston ace.
Junichi Tazawa recorded the final out of the eighth inning. He struck out Carlos Santana.
Lester gave up two runs (one earned) on eight hits over 7 2/3 innings. He struck out four, walked one and threw 109 pitches (72 strikes).
Lester failed to play the role of stopper in his last start against the Tigers, but the Red Sox are three outs away from taking the series opener against the Indians.
End 7th, Red Sox 5-2: Carlos Carrasco tossed a scoreless seventh inning for the Tribe.
Mike Napoli singled with one out, but Daniel Nava grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Nava had been 3-for-3 before the twin killing.
Jon Lester will come back out for the eighth inning. He’s been excellent.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 5-2: Oh my, JBJ.
Jackie Bradley Jr. just made a ridiculous play to end the top of the seventh inning. It involved a great catch and an even better throw.
Michael Bourn drilled a ball toward the left-center field gap with one out after Mike Aviles singled. Bradley raced back to make the catch on the warning track before bumping into the wall.
Bradley wasn’t done. Aviles took off and rounded second, thinking Bradley had no chance of making the catch. JBJ thus fired an absolute missile — and that’s an understatement — to double up Aviles at first.
Bradley must have been watching Yoenis Cespedes’ throwing clinic in right field for Oakland the last two nights.
End 6th, Red Sox 5-2: Brock Holt did it again.
The Red Sox answered with two runs of their own in the sixth inning, as Brock Holt doubled over Michael Brantley’s head in left field.
Boston’s rally started with two outs. Jonathan Herrera lined a ball into the right field corner and hustled his way to a triple. Herrera capped the effort with a head-first dive into third base.
Terry Francona turned to his bullpen and brought in Nick Hagadone, who inexplicably walked Jackie Bradley Jr. on four pitches. Bradley swiped second base moments later.
Holt then delivered the big double over Brantley’s head that plated two runs. Holt now has two hits after going 0-for-4 in Wednesday’s game.
Scott Atchison entered and retired Dustin Pedroia to end the inning.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 3-2: David Ortiz’s two-run homer is looking huge right now. The Indians closed the gap in the sixth inning.
Mike Napoli made a nice diving stop when Michael Bourn led off with a ground ball to the right side. Lester couldn’t catch Napoli’s toss while covering the bag, though, and Bourn reached on the pitcher’s error.
Michael Brantley doubled into the left field corner with one out. Brantley has two hits in this contest.
Jason Kipnis yanked a ball to the right side with runners at second and third. It shot under Dustin Pedroia’s glove as the second baseman hit the dirt. Kipnis was awarded a hit, although it’s a play Pedroia typically makes. Two runs scored.
Yan Gomes extended the inning with a two-out single that deflected off Brock Holt’s glove before Lester finally escaped the frame.
End 5th, Red Sox 3-0: The Red Sox have three runs thanks to David Ortiz’s 15th home run of the season.
Jackie Bradley Jr. led off the bottom of the fifth with a single into right field. He scooted up to second base when Josh Tomlin unleashed an errant pickoff throw.
Brock Holt grounded out to the right side, which enabled Bradley to take third base. Dustin Pedroia couldn’t drive him in, as he put a ground ball right on the third base bag.
Ortiz put a ball where no one could field it. Big Papi absolutely crushed a two-out, two-run homer into the center field bleachers.
Mike Napoli singled off the base of the left field wall to keep the pressure on, and Daniel Nava followed with a line drive into left-center field. Napoli rounded second and headed for third before realizing he’d be out by a mile. He tossed on the brakes too late, though, and he was thrown out trying to retreat.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 1-0: Grady Sizemore made an interesting catch to end the top of the fifth inning. It was needed, as Jon Lester found himself in some trouble.
Lester walked Carlos Santana to open the fifth inning. He rebounded to retire Ryan Raburn and Nick Swisher, but Yan Gomes’ hot shot to the left side gave Brock Holt problems.
Holt was unable to make the play, as the ball deflected off his glove. Gomes was awarded a hit, although it’s one Holt probably wants back.
Mike Aviles, batting with runners at first and second, lifted a fly ball up the right field line. Sizemore gave chase into foul territory, leaped and made the catch before landing butt first on the wall.
Sizemore didn’t really need to jump, and the play was relatively routine aside from him covering a good chunk of ground. But hey, when things are going the way they are for Boston and Sizemore, you take whatever you can get without any complaints.
End 4th, Red Sox 1-0: It’s been a tough night at the dish for Jonathan Herrera.
Herrera grounded into a double play in the second inning. He couldn’t produce a hit with two on in the fourth inning, either.
Mike Napoli led off with a comebacker that struck Josh Tomlin. Tomlin not only was fine, but he also recovered in time to throw out Napoli at first base.
Daniel Nava singled into center field with one out. Nava is 2-for-2 thus far as he continues to show improvement at the plate.
David Ross walked after Grady Sizemore struck out swinging on a ball in the dirt. Herrera then flied out to end the inning.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 1-0: Jon Lester has been in total control thus far.
Lester worked around a two-out single for another scoreless inning. The left-hander has been far more effective than he was in his last start Saturday against the Tigers, when he failed to play the role of stopper despite Boston’s offense actually posting a solid performance.
Lester took care of Michael Bourn and Asdrubal Cabrera to begin the fourth inning before Michael Brantley dropped a single into left field.
Jason Kipnis took Daniel Nava back to the warning track in left field to end the inning.
End 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: Brock Holt decided enough was enough in the third inning.
Holt, whose 10-game hit streak was snapped with an 0-for-4 effort Wednesday, ripped a single into right field to begin the bottom of the third inning.
The Red Sox couldn’t take advantage of the leadoff knock, although their inability to do so mostly was a product of hitting the ball in the wrong place.
Dustin Pedroia smoked a line drive to first base. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, it was right at Carlos Santana, who made the catch and stepped on first base to double up Holt.
David Ortiz lined to center fielder Michael Bourn to end the inning.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: Jon Lester surrendered his first hit in the third inning, though he still has faced the minimum nine batters.
Lester struck out Nick Swisher, who was just activated off the disabled list. Swisher went down looking at a fastball.
Yan Gomes dropped a single into right field, but Lester quickly induced an inning-ending double play.
Mike Aviles hit a bouncer over the mound. Dustin Pedroia made the play, stepped on second base and tossed to first to complete the double play.
End 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: The Red Sox scored as many runs in the second inning as they scored in their previous 28 innings combined.
Grady Sizemore put the first dent in the scoreboard. And no, I’m not making any of this up.
Mike Napoli led off the inning with a ground ball into the hole. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera made a backhanded play, but his throw was in the dirt. First baseman Carlos Santana was unable to pick it, and Cabrera was charged with an error as Napoli reached.
Daniel Nava sent Napoli scampering from first to third with a single into right field. Ryan Raburn delivered a good throw to third, but the ball wasn’t hit sharply and Napoli slid in just ahead of the tag.
Sizemore put the Red Sox in front 1-0 with a line drive over Raburn’s head. The ball bounced over the fence and into the Cleveland bullpen for a ground-rule double.
David Ross walked to load the bases with no outs, but that’s where things came apart at the seams. Jonathan Herrera grounded into a 3-2-3 double play, and Jackie Bradley Jr. struck out.
But hey, it’s a step in the right direction, right?
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Brock Holt is busy upon moving back to the infield.
Holt, who has played left field the last four games, is playing third base with both Xander Bogaerts and Stephen Drew out of the lineup. He recorded two putouts in the second inning on popups from Carlos Santana and Ryan Raburn.
Jon Lester went with all hard stuff to strike out Jason Kipnis for the first out of the second inning. Lester has three K’s thus far — one on a fastball, one on a sinker and one on a curveball.
End 1st, 0-0: Here we go again?
The Red Sox’s offense went down in order in the first inning.
Brock Holt popped out for the first out. Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz both put the ball on the ground.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Jon Lester got off to a nice start.
Lester struck out two in a clean first inning. Michael Bourn and Michael Brantley sandwiched Asdrubal Cabrera’s popout with a pair of K’s.
Bourn went down on three pitches. Lester went fastball, changeup, curveball for the game’s first out.
Brantley also went down on three pitches. Lester put him away with 95 mph heat.
7:12 p.m.: Jon Lester shoots in a first-pitch strike. We’re underway at Fenway Park.
6:50 p.m.: The Red Sox’s offense enters Thursday’s game on the heels of an abysmal series in Baltimore.
The Sox scored just one run in three games against the O’s, making it amazing that Boston was able to squeak out a win.
The series in Baltimore marked the first time the Red Sox scored as little as one run over a three-game stretch since the 1993 team did it in April of that year.
The one run against the Orioles was the fewest runs the Red Sox have scored in a three-game series since being outscored by the Texas Rangers 24-0 in April of 1981.
The Red Sox, who were swept by the Indians last week at Progressive Field, have won six of their last games against the Tribe at Fenway.
6:14 p.m.: Xander Bogaerts is not in the Red Sox’s starting lineup.
Bogaerts has started 30 straight games dating back to May 7. He’s also 0-for-16 with five strikeouts over his last four games. Red Sox manager John Farrell thus thought Thursday represented a good time to give a clearly fatigued Bogaerts the night off.
Stephen Drew also remains out of the lineup with an oblique injury. Drew, who suffered the injury during Sunday’s series finale in Detroit, will miss his fourth straight game and could undergo an MRI on Friday depending on how he responds to a full workout Thursday.
Brock Holt, who has been playing left field of late, will move back into the infield with both Bogaerts and Drew out of the lineup. He’ll play third base while Jonathan Herrera will play shortstop for the fourth straight game.
Thursday’s complete lineups are below.
Boston Red Sox (29-36)
Brock Holt, 3B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF
Grady Sizemore, RF
David Ross, C
Jonathan Herrera, SS
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Jon Lester, LHP (6-7, 3.52 ERA)
Cleveland Indians (33-33)
Michael Bourn, CF
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Michael Brantley, LF
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Carlos Santana, 1B
Ryan Raburn, RF
Nick Swisher, DH
Yan Gomes, C
Mike Aviles, 3B
Josh Tomlin, RHP (4-2, 3.12 ERA)
6 p.m. ET: The Boston Red Sox return home to Fenway Park in rough shape. Waiting for them is Terry Francona and the red-hot Cleveland Indians.
The Red Sox finished a nine-game road trip Wednesday with a 6-0 loss to the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Boston went 2-7 on the trip and now must attempt to turn things around against a Cleveland team that has won nine of its last 12 games.
Jon Lester will look to begin the Red Sox’s turnaround. He’ll take the ball in Thursday’s series opener and look to rebound from his shortest outing of the season in his last start Saturday against the Detroit Tigers. Lester allowed five runs on a season-high 12 hits in that contest as the Red Sox fell to Max Scherzer and Co.
The Indians will counter with Josh Tomlin, who has been very consistent for Cleveland this season. Tomlin, who owns a 3.12 ERA, has given up three runs or fewer in all seven of his starts. He earned a victory in his last start Saturday after tossing eight innings of three-run ball against the Texas Rangers.
The Red Sox’s offense has been woeful this season. The unit was especially bad on the recent road trip, and facing Tomlin won’t make life any easier. The Red Sox, who enter Thursday’s contest seven games below .500 (29-36), realize they must turn things around soon, though, and a seven-game homestand could be exactly what the doctor ordered.
Thursday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Tune in on NESN, and keep it right here with NESN.com’s live blog.
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