CLEVELAND - Mike Napoli hit a three-run double in Boston's seven-run second inning and the Red Sox, playing with heavy hearts one day after the deadly bombings back home, beat the Cleveland Indians 7-2 on Tuesday night.
Boston's players were already en route to Cleveland when they learned of the explosions near the Boston Marathon's finish line that killed three and injured more than 170. The Red Sox were hoping to bring some relief to those affected by the tragedy, and they may have while winning their fourth straight.
The series opener was also Indians manager Terry Francona's first game against the Red Sox, the team he led to two World Series titles during eight seasons in Boston.
Boston’s Mike Napoli hits a bases-loaded double off Cleveland’s starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to drive in three runs during the second inning.
Helped by five walks, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the second off Ubaldo Jimenez (0-2) and gave Felix Doubront (1-0) all the support he needed.
Staked to the big lead, Doubront allowed two runs and four hits in five innings. He struck out seven.
Monday's tragic events in Boston brought a somber tone to Francona's reunion as well as to the Red Sox. Before the game, in a clubhouse devoid of its usual pregame sound and bustle, several players spoke of how a memorable Patriots Day victory against Tampa Bay turned horrific.
"It's weird," pitcher Jon Lester said. "You see these things, it's like movies. For it to hit home like this, to be on that sidewalk plenty of times, eaten at those restaurants plenty of times, it hits right at home. It's a scary deal."
With the American flag clinging to the pole and at half-staff, the Red Sox and Indians, wearing black armbands, solemnly took the field for a moment of silence before the national anthem to honor those who lost their lives.
Indians starter Jimenez was atrocious in his two-inning stint. The right-hander walked five, including two with the bases loaded, to force in a pair of runs.
Pedro Ciriaco hit a sacrifice fly and Ellsbury had an RBI single off Jimenez, who was pulled after walking Pedroia to load the bases on his 59th pitch. As he walked slowly to the dugout, Indians fans let Jimenez know how they felt about his latest poor performance. He is 1-12 since the second half of last season.
Cody Allen relieved Jimenez and gave up Napoli's three-run double to make it 7-0.
The Indians got a run off Doubront in the second on Mike Aviles' sacrifice fly. They had a chance to catch up in the fifth, loading the bases with one out. A passed ball with two outs got Cleveland within 7-2, but Doubront got Mark Reynolds to pop to short right and end the threat.
It's a good thing the Red Sox struck early. They struck out 16 times against five Cleveland pitchers.