CLEVELAND It took four games, but things finally calibrated into balance for the Red Sox and Indians in the MLB world order.
The Sox offense lit up a young, inexperienced pitcher and Jon Lester wriggled out of some early trouble to dominate the Tribe hitters in a 14-1 victory at Progressive Field. The win gave Boston a split of the four-game series against the Indians before they move onto important divisional bouts against both the Orioles and the Yankees. It was also the most runs the Red Sox offense has scored since that put up 15 in a June 20 shellacking of the Miami Marlins.
Boston jumped all over Corey Kluber in the top of the first inning with Carl Crawford and Dustin Pedroia lacing back-to-back doubles before the incendiary Adrian Gonzalez mauled a two-run homer to right field. It was Gonzos 13th home run of the season and his 32nd and 33rd RBI since the All-Star break to lead all of Major League Baseball.
Lester gave one run back in the bottom of the first and labored through a 27 pitch innings, but the Sox kept offense kept pouring it on and knocked the Cleveland rookie out of the game in the fourth inning.
A two-run Crawford double in the second inning helped push Boston ahead by a comfortable margin, and then the Sox offense blew the doors off the Cleveland joint in the fifth with an eight-run inning. Ellsbury, Crawford, Pedroia, Gonzalez and Aviles all finished with multi-hit games and Gonzalez knocked in a game-high four runs for the Sox.
That wide margin allowed Lester to settle in and start mowing down Tribe hitters. He allowed only three hits and a pair of walks over his six innings of work and a season-high fanned 12 batters in a turn back the clock performance that Sox fans havent seen enough of this year from the big lefty. He didnt allow an Indians hit after the third innings while getting stronger as the game wore on with his heater, cut fastball and slider all working in tandem.
In the good debut department for the Sox new guy Danny Valencia also collected his first RBI with the team on a sacrifice fly to left field in that massive fifth inning rally. Valencia was also the only player in the Sox starting lineup that didnt finish with a hit in the 15-hit barrage of Indians pitching.
Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.
Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.
Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.
Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.
Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.
Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.
Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.
Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.
Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners.
Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014.
Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.