Lester pitches Red Sox to sixth straight win, 6-3
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester delivers against the Cleveland Indians in the first inning of a baseball game on Thursday, April 18, 2013, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Boston Red Sox's Mike Napoli, right, beats the tag by Cleveland Indians catcher Carlos Santana to score from second on a single by Mike Carp in the seventh inning of a baseball game on Thursday, April 18, 2013, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Boston Red Sox's Jacoby Ellsbury slips while rounding third base on a single by Shane Victorino in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Thursday, April 18, 2013, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Boston Red Sox's Dustin Pedroia singles to drive in a run in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Thursday, April 18, 2013, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Cleveland Indians' Mike Aviles doubles off Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester in the fifth inning of a baseball game on Thursday, April 18, 2013, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
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 last night.
The Red Sox return home to play Kansas City tonight, 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 RBI 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 tonight 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 tonight 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 Mike 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’s 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’s 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 RBI, 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’s groundout. Napoli, Nava and Carp, a pinch-hitter, had RBI 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.
∎ Boston 3B Will Middlebrooks, hitless in his past 13 at-bats, wasn’t in the lineup last night. Ciriaco started at third.
∎ Farrell said RHP John Lackey (strained biceps) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today and if that goes well, he will pitch on a rehab assignment Monday.
∎ Francona said 2B Jason Kipnis (sore left elbow) could return to the lineup tonight against Houston. Kipnis missed his fifth straight game last night.