CLEVELAND -- Lots of hitting early and lots of pitching late was the formula for the Boston Red Sox as they rolled to their fifth win in a row, a 6-3 decision over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.
Boston scored three runs in the first inning off Cleveland ace Justin Masterson to take an early lead it never relinquished, and after Boston starter Alfredo Aceves ran out of gas, the Boston bullpen was untouchable.
Aceves was removed from the game in the sixth inning with the Red Sox leading 5-3, and Boston's three-man bullpen tag team overpowered Cleveland hitters.
"A good game. A very good game," said Boston Manager John Farrell.
Relievers Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Andrew Bailey combined to pitch four scoreless and hitless innings, retiring all 12 batters they faced, eight of them on strikeouts.
"The two innings by Taz were probably the difference in the ballgame. Good stuff and lots of strikes," said Farrell.
Boston got contributions from all corners of the lineup, with six Red Sox players having multi-hit games. No. 9 hitter Mike Carp, who came into the game 0-for-3 for the season and 0-for-4 in his career vs. Masterson, was 3-for-3 in the first five innings, with two doubles and a triple.
Shane Victorino also had three hits as the Red Sox collected 15 hits overall in support of Aceves, who pitched five innings to get the win, his first of the season.
Masterson came into the game tied with Boston's Clay Buchholz for the lead in the American League with a 0.41 ERA, but he was in immediate trouble Wednesday, giving up hits to four of the first five batters he faced.
"They were able to put balls where our guys weren't," said Masterson. "There's nothing I would do differently, because I thought I made good pitches."
Mike Napoli's two-run single and an RBI single by Daniel Nava gave Boston a 3-0 lead before Masterson, who threw 27 pitches in the first inning, recorded his second out.
"I can't be too upset because I thought I made decent pitches in that inning, but they are professional hitters," said Masterson. "They just got too many too early."
Boston loaded the bases in the first, second and fourth innings, and the Red Sox made it 4-0 in the fifth inning on an RBI triple by Carp, who had two doubles and a triple in the first five innings.
"They made Justin work really hard," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona. "He had to pitch out of a lot of traffic, had to bob and weave his way through it."
Cleveland came into the game having scored two or fewer runs in four of its last five games, and Indians' hitters couldn't do much against Aceves, who held Cleveland scoreless on four hits through the first five innings.
The Indians, who were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, scored their only runs in the sixth inning, on back-to-back home runs by Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi. Swisher's was a two-run homer, and the 42-year-old Giambi's made him the third oldest player to ever hit a home run for the Indians.
The only players older than Giambi to hit home runs for Cleveland are Sam Rice (44) in 1934 and Dave Winfield (43) in 1995.
Aceves gave up both of those homers, and was removed from the game after Giambi's. In five innings Aceves gave up three runs on seven hits.
The loss dropped Masterson's record to 3-1.
"This one wasn't as fun as the first three," he said.
NOTES: The Indians placed outfielder Michael Bourn on the disabled list with a lacerated right index finger. Bourn injured the finger while sliding headfirst into first base in Sunday's game with the White Sox. ... Napoli's two-run single in the first inning gave him 13 RBIs in the last nine games. ... Cleveland recalled pitcher Corey Kluber from Triple-A Columbus to fill the roster spot created when Bourn was placed on the disabled list. ... John Lester, who will start Thursday for Boston, has never lost at Progressive Field, where in seven career starts he is 3-0 with a 3.92 ERA.