Lester, Red Sox shellack Indians, 14-1


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.

Chris Sale not concerned about which starter is Red Sox' ace

Chris Sale not concerned about which starter is Red Sox' ace

Trenni sits with Chris Sale and David Price during spring training in Fort Meyers.

Moreland not worried about filling Ortiz's shoes because 'there's no replacing him'

Moreland not worried about filling Ortiz's shoes because 'there's no replacing him'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mitch Moreland knows he's likely the only new player in Boston's lineup since David Ortiz retired at the end of last season.

He's just not listening to those who say he needs to replace Big Papi's lofty production.

"I try not to hear it because there's no replacing that guy," said the 31-year-old first baseman, who signed a one-year, $5.5-million deal with the Red Sox during the offseason.

"I think it's going to be more of a team effort," he said. "Obviously we picked up two big arms as well, and it's a very balanced club."

After playing his first six-plus seasons in the majors with the Texas Rangers, Moreland is with a new organization for the first time in his career. So far, he said, the move has been smooth.

"They welcomed me from Day One," he said. "Handshakes and hugs right off the bat. It's going to be a lot of fun. You can see why they had so much success last year."

Coming off a subpar 2016 with a .233 batting average, 22 homers and 60 RBI, Moreland tested free agency. He wanted to go to a team that had a good chance at competing for a championship -- like he felt with the Rangers.

"Something that was at the top of my list as a player," he said. "If I was going to be on a team, I wanted a team that had a chance to win. It makes it that much more fun to come to the park every day when something's on the line and you're fighting for a chance to play in the playoffs, fighting to win the division and fighting to win a World Series."

A first-time Gold Glove winner last season, Moreland knows the defending A.L. East champion Red Sox wanted his defensive skills at first to allow Hanley Ramirez to shift to Ortiz's vacated DH spot.

"It gives you a little more confidence," Moreland said. "I take pride in that. That's going to be my main goal, to go out and show what they saw."

A left-handed batter like Ortiz, Moreland knows some people will expect him to fill the void offensively because of which side of the plate he bats from.

"I think it'll be a group effort picking up what will be missing," he said. "There's no replacing that guy."

Manager John Farrell also said the club needs to move on from Ortiz so Moreland and everyone else can relax and focus on their own game.

"David's effect on the lineup was felt by a number of people. We know opponents would game plan for David," Farrell said. "I think it's important for our guys - as we put David out of our mind, in a good way - that it's still a focus on what their strengths are in the strike zone."

The transition may be easy for Moreland so far, but one thing has certainly changed: spending spring training in Florida instead of Arizona.

"Fishing's a lot different than Arizona, so that's nice," he said.

NOTES: "We're getting a firsthand look to why he's been so successful and an elite pitcher," Farrell said after left-hander Chris Sale pitched batting practice. The Red Sox acquired Sale from the Chicago White Sox in an offseason trade for four prospects. They also acquired right-handed, hard-throwing setup man Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee . . . Farrell said righty Steven Wright, who missed the final two months of the season with a shoulder injury, "was unrestricted in his throwing." . . . The Red Sox will have a shorter workout Tuesday with the players association set to talk to the team and the organization's annual charity golf tournament in the afternoon.