Saturday, December 7, 2013
The Associated Press
CLEVELAND - Boston's offense helped Jon Lester put a halt to his losing streak.
The Red Sox belt out 16 hits, including this two-run homer by Adrian Gonzalez, en route to a "laugher" of a 14-1 win at Cleveland.
The Associated Press
TUESDAY-THURSDAY: Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles
FRIDAY-SUNDAY: Red Sox at New York Yankees
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 a two-run double. Carl Crawford had three RBI 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 that.
"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 June 20.
"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 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.
NOTE: Boston third-baseman Will Middlebrooks, 23, does not need surgery on his broken right wrist, though he is still likely out for the season. Middlebrooks was hit by a pitch from Indians reliever Esmil Rogers in the ninth inning Friday night.