Closing Time: Red Sox light up old friends for third straight win

The Red Sox got to a pair of former Boston pitchers early and often as they beat the Indians, 12-1, Sunday at Fenway Park. The victory was Boston’s third in a row, and Daniel Bard‘s first win in the month of May.

Boston had big innings in the first and seventh innings. They did their damage against Justin Masterson in the first inning, as they plated four runs on RBIs from Will Middlebrooks, Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Masterson eventually settled down but ended the day having allowed six earned runs over six innings thanks to a third-inning homer from Middlebrooks and another Saltalamacchia RBI single in the sixth.

It was once Masterson was out of the game that things really got out of hand. The Sox lit up former Sox reliever Dan Wheeler to the tune of five hits and six runs in the seventh inning, including a two-run homer from Saltalamacchia.

Bard went six innings, throwing 97 pitches and allowing one earned run. He walked four batters and struck out two. He had last won on April 27 before dropping his previous two starts.

Mauro Gomez made his major league debut as he came in to play first base in the eighth inning. The 27-year-old first baseman was recalled by the Sox prior to Sunday’s game with Darnell McDonald having been placed on the disabled list with an oblique injury.

The Sox will continue their six-game home Monday and Tuesday against the Mariners. Jon Lester will take the hill Monday against Jason Vargas.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

- It was up-and-down start for Bard, but he still kept the Indians to just one run on the day and picked up his first win in his last three starts. After a seven-pitch first inning and a relatively clean second inning (the lone exception being a walk to Travis Hafner), the wheels started to come off quickly for Bard. He walked in a run as one of three walks in the third inning, but he was fortunate to get a pair of double plays that helped get him back on track.

After walking in Jack Hannahann, Bard got Travis Hafner to ground one to Dustin Pedroia to set up an inning-ending twin killing in the top of the third. The other double play ended the fifth inning. After Jason Kipnis singled to right with one out, Asdrubal Caberea hit a line drive that was snagged by Mike Aviles. Kipnis dove back to first, but couldn’t beat Aviles’ throw.

- Dustin Pedroia extended his hit streak to 14 game with a double to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning.

- After getting on base four times Sunday (two doubles, hit by pitch twice), Daniel Nava has now reached base safely in 12 of his 16 plate appearances since being recalled by the Red Sox. Nava also scored three runs on Sunday.

Nava also picked up a stolen base when he swiped second off Masterson in the bottom of the sixth after being hit by a pitch. He would go on to score on an RBI single from Saltalamacchia.

- While the Indians’ bullpen was a wreck in the seventh, Rich Hill put together a clean inning of no baserunners and a pair of strikeouts. Hill has now gone six straight appearances without allowing a run. He has surrendered one hit and three walks over that six-inning span.

Matt Albers also had a scoreless inning, keeping the bases empty and picking up a strikeout against Travis Hafner.

- The Red Sox haven’t often been able to their old friend in Masterson, as the former Sox pitcher entered Sunday’s game with a 1.95 ERA against Boston in four starts. The Sox changed that quickly by picking up four runs in the first before Masterson eventually settled down. The Sox would add to their lead with runs in the third and sixth innings. The Red Sox’ four runs in the first inning Sunday marked their best first inning since they picked up four runs in the first inning against Jonathan Sanchez in last Monday’s win over the Royals.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

- The accuracy and the walks remain an issue for Bard, as Sunday marked the second consecutive start in which he gave out four free passes. With his four walks Sunday, Bard surpassed Clay Buchholz for the staff lead in walks with 24 on the season.

- Cody Ross was the only remember of the Red Sox’ starting lineup to not get a hit. He went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Saltalamacchia led the way for the Sox with three hits on the day.