Lester sparks Red Sox past Indians for sixth straight win

By The Sports Xchange, Special to the BDN
Posted April 18, 2013, at 11:15 p.m.

CLEVELAND — The streaking Boston Red Sox got still another outstanding pitching performance plus some timely hitting as they completed a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians with a 6-3 victory on Thursday night for their sixth win in a row.

Left-hander Jon Lester pitched seven strong innings, holding Cleveland to two runs and four hits, to improve his record to 3-0.

Boston’s starting pitchers have now allowed three runs or fewer in all 15 games they have played. That’s the longest such streak by an American League team since the Oakland A’s starting pitchers held opposing teams to three runs of fewer in their first 16 games in 1981.

As was the case in all three games of the series, Boston got contributions from several players in the lineup. Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Napoli both had two hits, Jarrod Saltalamacchia belted a home run and Daniel Nava chipped in with two RBI.

The Red Sox broke open a 3-2 game with a three-run seventh inning that featured a single by Ellsbury, an RBI single by Napoli, a sacrifice fly by Nava and a pinch-RBI single by Mike Carp, who was 4 for 5 in the series with a single, two doubles and a triple.

Cleveland cut Boston’s 6-2 lead to 6-3 with an RBI double by Carlos Santana in the eighth, but with runners at second and third and two outs, reliever Koji Uehara struck out Nick Swisher to end that threat. Andrew Bailey pitched the ninth to pick up his second save.

With an assist from the wind, Boston scored first.

In the second, Napoli lifted a routine fly to medium right field, but a gust of wind almost propelled the ball out of the ballpark. It bounced off the right-field wall for a triple, Napoli’s seventh triple in eight years in the majors. Nava’s single drove in Napoli to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.

The Indians tied it in the bottom of the second when Mark Reynolds doubled, went to third on a flyout to right by Ryan Raburn and scored on a groundout to third by Mike Aviles.

The Red Sox took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Saltalamacchia pounded a 3-and-2 pitch from Cleveland starter Zach McAllister over the wall in right for his third home run.

Dustin Pedroia’s RBI single in the fifth extended the Boston lead to 3-1, but in the bottom of the fifth Aviles doubled and eventually scored on an infielder groundout by Drew Stubbs to make it 3-2.

NOTES: Red Sox reliever Koji Uehara has pitched 18 consecutive scoreless innings and has gone 21 consecutive scoreless outings during the streak, which dated to Sept. 1 of last year. … Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis is expected to return to the lineup Friday. He hasn’t played since April 12 because of a sore left elbow. … The Indians announced that Scott Kazmir will come off the DL and make his first start of the season on Saturday against Houston.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/04/18/sports/lester-sparks-red-sox-past-indians-for-sixth-straight-win/ printed on September 22, 2014