CLEVELAND – Even after extending their winning streak to six games Thursday, the Boston Red Sox had something more on their minds as they packed up for the flight home.
They will reunite with their fans for the first time since Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon when they host the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.
“It’s going to be great,” said Jon Lester, who pitched seven strong innings in Boston’s 6-3 win. “Maybe for a couple of hours it can get back to being Boston and watching a baseball game, and not thinking about all the other things. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that.”
The Red Sox paid tribute to their home city by hanging a “617 Boston Strong” jersey in their dugout throughout their three-game sweep of the Indians.
“We feel a sense that we can contribute to a communal spirit and hopefully create a little bit of a diversion for those affected directly,” Manager John Farrell said. “We’re certainly not going to replace what happened — I think maybe we may have a way of helping getting back to some sense of normalcy.”
Clay Buchholz, Friday’s scheduled starter, is looking forward to taking the mound at Fenway Park.
“I’m sort of lost for words for everything,” he said. “I don’t really know how to comprehend a bunch of it.
“But it’s going to be a special day for everybody. I think that goes above and beyond it being another baseball game. It’s going to be the city of Boston and what the Red Sox are about.”
While their minds may have been on the tragedy in their home city, Red Sox outscored Cleveland 19-8 in the series with solid starting pitching, excellent work from the bullpen and timely hitting.
“You can’t put your finger on one thing,” Lester said after the Red Sox raised their record to 11-4. “Everybody’s doing what they need to do. We’re playing good baseball right now.”
Lester (3-0) held the Indians to two runs and four hits while Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a tiebreaking home run in the fourth.
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.
“If they pitch like that, they’re going to give a lot of people trouble,” Francona said.
Zach McAllister (1-2) allowed three runs in five innings.
Andrew Bailey pitched the ninth for his second save.
Lester, who struck out five and walked one, has won his first three decisions for the third time in his career.
NOTES: David Ortiz, who is nursing a sore Achilles, homered Thursday in the final game of a rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket. Rookie outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., in an 0-for-20 slump, will likely be sent to Pawtucket when Ortiz is activated. Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks, hitless in his past 13 at-bats, wasn’t in the lineup. Pedro Ciriaco started at third. Farrell said right-hander John Lackey (strained biceps) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday and if that goes well, will pitch on a rehab assignment Monday.