|Boston (57-59) «||3||2||0||1||8||0||0||0||0||14||16||0|
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.
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"A laugher and we needed it," manager Bobby Valentine said. "The guys had a good time."
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 off relievers Josh Tomlin and Frank Herrmann 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.
Tomlin, dropped from the rotation on July 31, will have his right elbow examined in Cleveland and will not make the Indians' trip that begins Monday in Los Angeles. He didn't pitch last September due to a sore elbow and admitted Sunday he had not told Acta that it's bothered him for more than a month.
"I felt like I could go out there and get outs," Tomlin said. "Apparently I couldn't. It didn't hurt every single day, but there were days it did hurt."
It was the eighth time since the All-Star break that Cleveland gave up 10-plus runs. The Indians are 9-21 and their starting rotation has a 6.71 ERA over that stretch.
Kluber gave up six runs and seven hits over 3 1/3 innings, his shortest outing in three career starts.
|The Red Sox's Jon Lester records 12 strikeouts and defeats the Indians to earn his victory in six weeks. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Boston Red Sox|
|Jacoby Ellsbury, CF||5||2||2||2||0||0||2||.259|
|Carl Crawford, LF||4||2||3||3||0||0||1||.280|
|Scott Podsednik, LF||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||.373|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||3||3||2||1||1||0||1||.278|
|Pedro Ciriaco, 2B-CF||2||0||1||0||0||1||1||.337|
|Adrian Gonzalez, 1B||3||2||2||4||1||0||0||.309|
|Nick Punto, 1B-2B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.198|
|Cody Ross, RF||4||1||1||1||1||2||1||.275|
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia, DH-1B||5||1||1||1||0||1||2||.228|
|Mike Aviles, SS||3||3||3||0||1||0||0||.257|
|Danny Valencia, 3B||4||0||0||1||0||1||4||.192|
|Kelly Shoppach, C||4||0||1||1||0||2||4||.250|
|Ryan Lavarnway, C||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.100|
|2B - Jacoby Ellsbury (13, Tomlin), Carl Crawford 3 (8, Kluber, Kluber, Tomlin), Dustin Pedroia (23, Kluber), Adrian Gonzalez (36, Herrmann), Mike Aviles (25, Herrmann)|
|HR - Adrian Gonzalez (13, Kluber)|
|SF - Danny Valencia (4)|
|RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury 2 (10), Carl Crawford 3 (16), Dustin Pedroia (43), Adrian Gonzalez 4 (80), Cody Ross (59), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (47), Danny Valencia (18), Kelly Shoppach (17)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury 2 (3), Carl Crawford 3 (6), Adrian Gonzalez 2 (27)|
|SB - Mike Aviles (11, 2nd base off Kluber/Marson)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Jon Lester (W,6-10)||6||3||1||1||2||12||0||5.20|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lester 101-67, Junichi Tazawa 20-13, Clayton Mortensen 24-14, Alfredo Aceves 12-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lester 3-3, Alfredo Aceves 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Jon Lester 23, Junichi Tazawa 5, Clayton Mortensen 4, Alfredo Aceves 3|
|Jason Donald, 2B||4||1||1||0||0||3||3||.190|
|Asdrubal Cabrera, DH||4||0||1||0||0||2||0||.280|
|Shin-Soo Choo, RF||2||0||0||0||0||2||2||.285|
|Casey Kotchman, 1B||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.223|
|Carlos Santana, 1B-LF||2||0||1||1||1||1||0||.241|
|Shelley Duncan, LF-RF||3||0||0||0||1||2||2||.213|
|Brent Lillibridge, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.195|
|Lou Marson, C||4||0||1||0||0||2||0||.243|
|Jack Hannahan, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.226|
|Ezequiel Carrera, CF||2||0||1||0||1||1||0||.393|
|2B - Ezequiel Carrera (1, Tazawa)|
|SF - Carlos Santana (6)|
|RBI - Carlos Santana (53)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - Donald-Lillibridge-Kotchman|
|PB - Lou Marson (2)|
|E - Jason Donald (4, Throwing)|
|Corey Kluber (L,0-1)||3.1||7||6||6||0||4||1||8.56|
|HBP - Aviles (by Corey Kluber)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Corey Kluber 64-43, Josh Tomlin 39-24, Frank Herrmann 48-26, Cody Allen 10-7, Joe Smith 17-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Corey Kluber 4-2, Josh Tomlin 1-2, Frank Herrmann 3-3, Cody Allen 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Corey Kluber 18, Josh Tomlin 11, Frank Herrmann 12, Cody Allen 3, Joe Smith 4|
|Attendance - 27488|
|Game Time - 3:20|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Marty Foster, First Base - Tim Timmons, Second Base - Eric Cooper, Third Base - Jeff Kellogg|