BOSTON — Few pitchers have a successful resume against Red Sox slugger David Ortiz.
Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin happens to be one, but Ortiz got the better of him Thursday night.
Tomlin surrendered a two-out, two-run homer to Ortiz in the fifth inning that ignited Boston’s 5-2 win and sent the Indians to their third straight loss.
Ortiz entered the game 0-for-8 in his career against the right-hander before depositing an 0-1 fastball into the stands in straightaway center for a 3-0 lead.
“I was pretty aware of the history against Ortiz. No thought of walking him there,” Tomlin said. “Made a bad pitch to Ortiz. He made me pay for it. Changed the course of the game after that.”
Tomlin (4-3) allowed four runs — three earned — on nine hits over 5⅔ innings, striking out three and walking two.
He kept Boston in check early, the only damage coming on Grady Sizemore’s RBI double in the second.
After allowing a leadoff single to Jackie Bradley Jr. in the fifth, Tomlin recorded two outs on grounders before Ortiz belted his 15th homer.
“He made some mistakes over the plate that he paid for,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Jon Lester worked into the eighth inning, Brock Holt hit a two-run double and Daniel Nava had three hits as the Red Sox won for just the third time in their last 10 games, a dismal stretch that began with a three-game sweep by the Indians last week.
Coming off his shortest start of the season, Lester (7-7) allowed two runs — one earned — on eight hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 7⅔ innings.
“He’s really good. Came out of the chute firing, looking really good,” Francona said. “Sometimes the best way to beat a pitcher like that is to get him out of the game.”
Koji Uehara pitched a perfect ninth for his 14th save.
Lester faced one batter over the minimum through four innings and allowed just three singles through five, but let Michael Bourn reach safely to start the sixth when he dropped Mike Napoli’s throw to first.
After a double by Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis cut the deficit to 3-2 with a sharp single that scooted underneath second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
Holt’s double in the bottom half restored the three-run cushion.
Boston took the lead in the second on Grady Sizemore’s RBI double.
- A moment of silence was held before the game for former Red Sox manager Don Zimmer, who died June 4.
- Cleveland 3B Lonnie Chisenhall, a left-handed batter, was not in the lineup despite hitting .393 with seven homers and 32 RBIs in 53 games this season.