Following a disastrous road trip in which virtually nothing went right, the Red Sox returned home Thursday and turned in a well-rounded game that featured dominant starting pitching, and, for a change, just enough timely hitting.
David Ortiz cracked a two-run homer and Brock Holt added a two-run double, backing the strong starting pitching of Jon Lester, who allowed just one earned run in 7 2/3 innings as the Red Sox beat the Cleveland Indians, 5-2.
The win was the first in four tries for the Sox against the Indians this season. Cleveland swept a three-game set last week at Progressive Field.
Holt, who saw his 10-game hitting streak snapped Wednesday with an 0-for-4 night in Baltimore, swatted an opposite-field double in the sixth just over the reach of left fielder Michael Brantley, scoring Jonathan Herrera and Jackie Bradley Jr.
The double came off lefty Nick Hagadone, who was brought in in relief of starter Josh Tomlin to face two lefties -- Bradley and Holt. The strategy backfired when Hagadone walked Bradley on four pitches and then surrendered the two-run double.
Cleveland had climbed back into the game in the top of the inning when an error by Lester at first and a double by Brantley set up Jason Kipnis, who grounded a single just past the diving Dustin Pedroia to score two.
Those were the only runs allowed by Lester, who pitched into the eighth and rebounded from a poor outing in Detroit last weekend that saw him shelled for 12 hits and forced from the the game in the fifth inning. Lester evened his record at 7-7, allowing eight hits and a walk while striking out four.
Junichi Tazawa got the final out in the eighth before Koji Uehara nailed down his 14th save in the ninth.
With the Sox already up 1-0 following a run-scoring ground rule double from Grady Sizemore in the second, Ortiz belted an 0-and-1 pitch from Tomlin into the center field bleachers, scoring Bradley (single) ahead of him.
It was the first homer at Fenway for Ortiz since May 3, more than five weeks ago and gave him his 12th straight season in Boston with at least 15 homers.
STAR OF THE GAME: Jon Lester
Following up a poor start in Detroit over the weekend that saw him allowed 12 hits in 4 1/3 innings, Lester pitched into the 8th inning and limited the Indians to just one earned run.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jackie Bradley Jr.
Bradley, who was benched for the first two games of the series in Baltimore, reached base twice with a walk and a single and scored two of the Red Sox' five runs. But his biggest contribution came in the field in the seventh when he raced back to the warning track to haul in a fly ball by Michael Bourn, then fired a strike to first to double up Mike Aviles at first and end the inning.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Nick Hagadone
Hagadone had been effective against the Sox last week in Cleveland, but not so Thursday night. Brought in to face two lefties in the bottom of the sixth, he walked the first (Jackie Bradley Jr.) on four pitches, then yielded a two-run double to the second (Brock Holt).
TURNING POINT: Brock Holt's double in the bottom of the sixth helped to negate the two runs the Indians managed in the top of the inning and re-established the Red Sox' three-run lead.
BY THE NUMBERS: The homer by Ortiz was his first at Fenway since May 3.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "To one-hop the first baseman, when he's got his back to (the infield) and turn and fire a strike -- it was an impressive play all-around.'' - John Farrell on double-play started by Jackie Bradley Jr. in the seventh.