Easy Fenway return for Francona: Indians crush Red Sox
By HOWARD ULMAN
BOSTON — Terry Francona returned to Fenway Park and found some more pleasant memories.
A standing ovation. A video tribute to his time as manager of the Boston Red Sox. And, most importantly, a win for his Cleveland Indians.
Drew Stubbs, Mark Reynolds and Michael Bourn combined for nine hits and eight RBIs and the Indians had 16 hits in their 12-3 win on Thursday night.
“I tried to keep my emotions inside,” said Francona, who led the Red Sox to two World Series championships in eight years. “I didn’t want to be the main focus. You want to let the players play.”
Francona, let go by Boston after the 2011 season, got the ovation after the first inning during a video display on the center-field scoreboard. He raised his left hand to the crowd and tapped his heart with his right.
“I was honored,” he said.
And, perhaps, just a bit emotional.
“It was just neat to see the organization do that for him,” Reynolds said. “I think I saw him teary-eyed a little bit during that thing. It was pretty neat and I was glad to be a part of it.”
It was the fans’ only chance to cheer for Francona. He didn’t bring out the lineup card and didn’t have to leave the visiting dugout during the game because all of Cleveland’s pitching changes came at the start of an inning.
He had left Boston as the second winningest manager, behind Joe Cronin, in club history.
In his first year as Cleveland’s manager, he has the Indians in first place in the AL Central after they went 68-94 last season.
They’re 22-9 in their last 31 games.
“They’ve got a good team and are in first place for a reason, not by accident,” said Boston manager John Farrell, Francona’s former pitching coach with the Red Sox.
The 12 runs are the most scored by the Indians in the park since June 28, 2005 and the most they scored there without a home run since 1953.
“Homers (have) been known to be rally killers,” Reynolds said. “You keep having guys on base, it keeps the pressure on the pitcher and it makes him be precise.”
Zach McAllister (4-3) allowed three runs in five innings. He hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of his nine starts this year. Scott Barnes earned his first major-league save by pitching three shutout innings.
“I think everyone wanted to go out there and get a win, not just for the team but for (Francona) also,” McAllister said. “He’s been great for us this year and he’s well liked everywhere he is. It’s definitely exciting to get him a win.”
Ryan Dempster (2-5) gave up four runs in three innings with four walks in his third straight poor start for Boston.
“My command has been terrible,” he said. “I have walked 10 guys in the last nine innings. Bottom line is I’ve got to fix that. I can’t get myself in that kind of trouble.”
Every Cleveland starting batter had a hit and all except Jason Kipnis scored. Carlos Santana reached base five times with a single and four walks.
The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI double by Stubbs and made it 4-0 in the third, scoring on a two-run single by Reynolds and a force play at second on a grounder by Mike Aviles.
The Red Sox cut that to 4-3 in the third on David Ortiz’s eighth homer of the season but wasted a chance for a bigger inning. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single and took second on a walk to Daniel Nava. Dustin Pedroia then singled, but Ellsbury was thrown out at the plate by center fielder Bourn. Ortiz then hit the next pitch for his three-run homer.
Run-scoring singles by Asdrubal Cabrera in the fourth and Bourn in the fifth made it 6-3 before the Indians scored six runs when they sent 10 men to the plate in the sixth.
They loaded the bases with no outs on a walk to Cabrera, a single by Michael Brantley and a walk to Santana. Alex Wilson replaced Clayton Mortensen and gave up an RBI single to Reynolds. Yan Gomes followed with a two-run double after first baseman Mike Napoli dropped his foul pop for an error.
Aviles hit an infield pop for the first out, but Stubbs tripled in two runs and Bourn singled in another before Wilson struck out the next two batters.
That was more than enough for Francona to relax the rest of the way with a big lead.
“He’s one of the best managers to ever manage here,” Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. “I wasn’t surprised by the (fans’) reaction. It is all earned and deserved.”
TIGERS 7, TWINS 6
DETROIT— Prince Fielder bounced a tiebreaking single off Jared Burton’s glove in the eighth inning, leading the Detroit Tigers to a 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.
Omar Infante started the inning with a single and was bunted to second by Torii Hunter. Ron Gardenhire then ordered Miguel Cabrera intentionally walked, but Fielder foiled the plan with a grounder that Burton (0-2) deflected past second baseman Brian Dozier.
Cabrera drove in three runs, including his sixth homer in four games. Cabrera has now matched a career high by homering in four straight games. He has also walked five times in the four games, and Fielder has followed all five with hits, driving in seven more runs.
Joaquin Benoit (1-0) pitched a perfect inning of relief, while Jose Valverde pitched the ninth for his fifth save.
BLUE JAYS 12, ORIOLES 6
TORONTO — Edwin Encarnacion hit his fifth career grand slam, J.P. Arencibia homered and drove in four runs and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Baltimore 12-6 on Thursday night, spoiling the debut of Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman.
Brandon Morrow (2-3) allowed six runs and a season-high 10 hits in seven-plus innings. He walked one and struck out five.
Brett Cecil and Brad Lincoln each worked one inning of scoreless relief as Toronto won for the third time in four games.
Baltimore’s Chris Davis hit his major league leading 15th home run, a leadoff shot in the fourth. Nick Markakis and Adam Jones hit back-to-back homers off Morrow in the eighth but it wasn’t enough for the Orioles, who lost for the seventh time in nine games.
Baltimore’s Manny Machado went 3 for 4 with three doubles, boosting his major league-leading total to 21.
The fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Gausman (0-1) allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out five.
ANGELS 5, ROYALS 4
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mike Trout and Albert Pujols hit solo home runs, and Mark Trumbo hit a two-run shot.
Joe Blanton got his first victory of the season after going 0-7 in his first nine starts. He held the Royals to seven hits and two runs in 6 1-3 innings. Trumbo put the Angels up 5-2 in the eighth with his team-leading 11th homer.
Ervin Santana (3-4), who spent 12 seasons in the Angels’ organization before being traded during the off-season to the Royals, struck out eight without a walk, but allowed five runs and eight hits — four of which were homers. Chris Iannetta hit one in the fifth.
The Royals scored on ground outs by Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas.
Robert Coello got the final out for his first big league save.
irates 4, Cubs 2. Updates. With AP Photos.
PIRATES 4, CUBS 2
PITTSBURGH — Andrew McCutchen had three hits and two RBIs to lead the Pirates to their fourth straight win.
Leadoff hitter Starling Marte singled and scored in each of the first two innings as Pittsburgh built an early 4-0 lead. The Pirates moved a season-best 11 games over .500 with its 11th victory in 13 games.
The Cubs lost their fourth in a row.
Edwin Jackson (1-7) gave up two runs in the first inning and two more in the second. He lasted only three innings and has a 6.11 ERA through 10 starts.
Jackson is in his first season with the Cubs after signing a four-year, $52 million contract over the winter as a free agent.
Reliever Vin Mazzaro (3-0) pitched 2 1-3 scoreless innings. He replaced starter Jeanmar Gomez in the fourth inning following a rain delay of 1 hour, 47 minutes.
Gomez allowed one run and three hits in 3 2-3 innings.
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