After going from one run in a full series against the Orioles to five runs in their first game against the Indians, the Red Sox bats exploded Friday night against Justin Masterson and the Cleveland bullpen, earning Boston an easy 10-3 victory.
Neither starting pitcher was really on their game early. John Lackey allowed some hard contact in a scoreless first, then surrendered a two-run shot to a struggling Carlos Santana on a loopy curveball that caught all of the zone. Lackey would allow another base hit before escaping the inning, looking ready to leave the Red Sox searching for plenty of outs from their bullpen.
Where Lackey threatened a short night, however, Justin Masterson delivered. Unable to put away either David Ortiz or Mike Napoli on two-strike counts, Masterson started out the second inning with a pair of walks to Boston's biggest hitters. Daniel Nava followed with a single up the middle that should have loaded the bases, but a far-too-aggressive send from Brian Butterfield left Ortiz an easy out at home plate.
It was a costly mistake, but not nearly enough to end the inning. A.J. Pierzynski doubled into the triangle to score both baserunners, One out later, Jackie Bradley Jr. provided a similar drive, dropping a fly ball over the head of David Murphy and replacing Pierzynski at third as the catcher scored another run for the Red Sox.
John Lackey would end up giving a run back to the Indians on a pair of leadoff doubles in the top of the third, but settled down from there to escape the inning without any further harm. The Red Sox did not let that run stand either. Once again Justin Masterson started off an inning with two walks--this time to Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia--ending his night in a hurry. Even after he had left, though, he would be made to pay for his free passes once again with a two-run double, this time off the bat of Mike Napoli, leaving the Sox ahead 5-3 after three.
From there, the Indians seemed to run out of steam, allowing John Lackey to establish a rhythm and power through 6.2 innings where he once seemed destined for a very short night indeed. The Red Sox, meanwhile, went to work against the Cleveland bullpen in the later innings. A lengthy seventh inning saw Jackie Bradley Jr., Brock Holt, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli, and Daniel Nava all collect hits, leaving four more runs on the board. And, in the eighth, it was Xander Bogaerts capping off Boston's massive night at the plate with a solo shot that would have left the park entirely had it not bounced off the light tower.
All told, it was a rare-but-welcome offensive explosion from a Red Sox lineup that probably needed the reminder that they were even capable of such things. John Lackey wasn't fantastic, but he managed to get going before things got too far out of hand. Saturday we'll be back to Jake Peavy, with all that entails, but at least we'll be heading into it with a couple of wins.