BOSTON - No Clay Buchholz? No problem for the again-surging Boston Red Sox, who are back in first place in the American League East.
Buchholz, 7-0 with a 1.73 ERA, missed Monday night's start with a minor irritation near his collarbone. But Alfredo Aceves worked six solid innings and the Red Sox pelted Philadelphia pitching with 15 hits, seven of them for extra bases, en route to a 9-3 interleague shellacking of the struggling Phillies.
The victory, the fourth straight and fifth in the last six games for Boston, moves the Red Sox a game ahead of the Yankees in the division. The Sox fell out of first May 9 after leading from opening day and hadn't been back since.
The Phillies, losers of three of their last four, fell to 24-27 in the opener of a four-game set (two in Boston, two in Philadelphia) between the two teams.
Rookie righty Tyler Cloyd (1-1, with his first road loss in six career starts) gave up first-inning home runs to Dustin Pedroia (No. 3) and Mike Napoli (No. 8) and lasted just 2 1/3 innings. Jacoby Ellsbury, whose two-run ninth-inning double won Sunday's game against Cleveland, had a single and two doubles in the first three innings Monday. He also turned a third-inning Michael Young liner into a double play and made a fine running catch of Freddy Galvis' bases-loaded drive with two out in the sixth.
Aceves (2-1 and recalled from Pawtucket last week) gave up seven hits, including an Erik Kratz homer (No. 5) before giving way to Clayton Mortensen.
Domonic Brown hit a two-run homer (his team-high 10th) off Andrew Miller in the eighth inning.
Pedroia (18-for-38 in the last 10 games) and Napoli both drove in two runs for Boston, which is a season-high 12 games over .500 for the second time (32-20).
Cloyd entered the game having worked 13 1/3 innings in the majors this year, allowing no home runs. By the time he reached 14 innings, he had surrendered two.
Pedroia tucked one in inside the right field foul pole after an opening single by Ellsbury, a groundout and wild pitch. David Ortiz struck out, but Napoli made it 3-0 with an opposite-field moon shot over the Boston bullpen.
Kratz hit the first pitch the opposite way for a one-out homer in the third.
Ortiz led the bottom of the third with a double and scored when Napoli popped a ground-rule double down the right field line. Napoli then scored on Stephen Drew's single. Jarrod Saltalamacchia's two-out single chased Cloyd in favor of Michael Stutes. Ellsbury doubled home the sixth run, but Saltalamacchia thrown out at the plate.
The Red Sox made it 8-1 in the fifth, getting one run on Saltalamacchia's single and another on an error by Phillies right fielder John Mayberry Jr.
NOTES: Former Boston RHP Jonathan Papelbon returned for the first time as a visiting player, the Red Sox saluting him with a video tribute that ended with the fans giving him an ovation. He waved to the crowd. Before the game, he said, "It's an absolute thrill to be here at this park again and hopefully get on the mound and pitch. I think this is one of my all-time favorite mounds to pitch off." ... Buchholz threw on flat ground Monday and isn't expected to miss a full turn. ... Boston RHP Ryan Dempster, who has thrown 212 pitches and walked 10 in just 7 2/3 innings over his last two starts, faces surging Phillies LHP Cliff Lee on Tuesday night. Lee is coming off a shutout and has allowed four runs in 31 innings over four starts. ... RHP Daniel Bard, who walked five Double-A hitters May 15, hasn't pitched since, the Boston Globe reporting Bard has been given a "break" to work on things away from the games. ... The Sox will activate Franklin Morales on Tuesday, and he'll be a third lefty in the bullpen. Morales has been out all season due to a sore lower back. ... Boston came in 116-64 (.644) all-time against the National League, the best interleague mark in the majors. ... Both teams wore special uniforms and hats (letter and numbers in camouflage) in honor of Memorial Day.