Lester, Red Sox shellack Indians, 14-1

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Lester, Red Sox shellack Indians, 14-1

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.

First impressions: Red Sox bullpen picks up the slack in 7-3 win

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First impressions: Red Sox bullpen picks up the slack in 7-3 win

CHICAGO -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 7-3 win over the White Sox:

* Henry Owens doesn't throw enough strikes to remain in the rotation.

Owens's time was coming to an end anyway, what with the imminent return of Eduardo Rodriguez.

But Owens may have pitched his way out of another start with his outing Thursday night. He faced 16 hitters and walked six hitters.

In every inning he began, he allowed the leadoff hitter to reach. This, despite his teammates scoring runs for him in every previous half inning.

* For a team without a lot of homers, the Red Sox hit their share Thursday night.

The Sox came into the game tied for 11th in homers in the American League, then hit three in the first six innings.

Each one of the homers -- by Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley - came with the bases empty, but together, they helped the Red Sox hold off the White Sox.

Ramirez's homer was particularly encouraging, since it was his second in the last three nights, and like the one he hit on Tuesday, was hit to the opposite field.

* The bullpen picked up a lot of slack.

When the Henry Owens Walkfest mercifully ended in the fourth inning, the Red Sox still had 18 outs to get.

Heath Hembree stumbled some, allowing a run on five hits -- the first run he's allowed this season -- but Matt Barnes, Junichi Tazawa, Robbie Ross. Jr took it from there, chipping in for the final 4 1/3 innings, all scoreless.

Thus far this season, the Red Sox have won four games in which their starter failed to get to the fifth inning. Some of that is a tribute to the offense, which has rallied a few times to make up early deficits.

But it's also due in part to the bullpen, which has provided quality relief and bought time for the offense to catch up.

* The Sox continue to play well on the road.

Through the first four road series, the Red Sox are 4-0-1, having done no worse than a split in their road sets to date.

Learning to win on the road now can be a useful trait for this team in the second half, when the schedule has them playing far more games away from home in the final two and a half months of the season.

* Boston had a balanced offensive attack.

Every member of the starting lineup except one Thursday had either an extra-base hit or a sacrifice fly. Leadoff hitter Mookie Betts, who continues to run hot and cold, was the only starter without one or the other, though he did have a single, walk twice and score a run.

In all, seven different players recorded one RBI.

Dan Shaughnessy: Can Hanley Ramirez replace David Ortiz at DH next season?

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Dan Shaughnessy: Can Hanley Ramirez replace David Ortiz at DH next season?

Dan Shaughnessy joins Arbella Early Edition to discuss David Ortiz’s impressive start to the season and whether he thinks Hanley Ramirez can fill his shoes at DH next season.

Felger vs. Shaughnessy: Would you take Ortiz or Ted Williams?

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Felger vs. Shaughnessy: Would you take Ortiz or Ted Williams?

Michael Felger says he would take David Ortiz on his team over Ted Williams.

Dan Shaughnessy sounds off on why he thinks that is an absolutely ridiculous thing to say.

Watch the video above.