CLEVELAND -- The Boston Red Sox not only swept a three-game series from the team led by their former manager, but they also impressed him.
"If they keep getting starting pitching like that, they are going to win a lot of games," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said after the Red Sox beat the Indians 6-3 Thursday night.
Left-hander Jon Lester became the latest Boston starter to shut down the opposing team, as he pitched seven strong innings, holding Cleveland to two runs on four hits.
Boston starting pitchers have allowed three runs or fewer in all 15 games the team has played. That's the club's longest such streak to begin a season. It's the longest season-opening streak by an American League team since the starters on the 1981 Oakland A's held their opponents to three runs or fewer in each of the first 16 games.
The win boosts the Red Sox's AL East-leading record to 11-4.
"You can't put your finger on one thing. Everybody's doing what they need to do. We're playing good baseball right now," Lester said.
"It was a well-played series all around," Boston manager John Farrell said. "The offense gave us enough support and some room at the end of games. We played very good defense. Overall, this has been a very good three-game series."
For Cleveland, the loss capped a disappointing opening homestand in which the Indians lost six of the eight games, capped by the three losses to the Red Sox, the team Francona managed from 2004-2011.
"They did what they wanted to us in the series. We need to go out on the road and get some wins," Francona said.
As was the case in all three games of the series, Boston got contributions from several players in the lineup. Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Napoli both had two hits, Jarrod Saltalamacchia belted a home run, and Daniel Nava chipped in two RBIs. In the series, Napoli went 6-for-15 with six RBIs.
The Red Sox broke open a 3-2 game with a three-run seventh inning that featured a single by Ellsbury, an RBI single by Napoli, a sacrifice fly by Nava and a pinch RBI single by Mike Carp, who was 4-for-5 in the series with a single, two doubles and a triple. The Red Sox hit .400 in Cleveland with runners in scoring position.
The Indians cut Boston's lead to 6-3 with an RBI double by Carlos Santana in the eighth, but with runners at second and third and two outs, reliever Koji Uehara struck out Nick Swisher to end the threat. Andrew Bailey pitched the ninth to pick up his second save in as many days.
With an assist from the wind, Boston scored first off Cleveland starter Zach McAllister.
In the second, Napoli lifted a routine fly to medium right field, but a gust of wind almost propelled the ball out of the ballpark. It bounced off the right field wall for a triple, Napoli's seventh in eight years in the majors.
"That was a tough one," McAllister said. "I didn't think the ball was going to go that far."
Nava's single drove in Napoli to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.
The Indians tied it in the bottom of the second when Mark Reynolds doubled, went to third on a flyout to right by Ryan Raburn and scored on a groundout to third by Mike Aviles.
The Red Sox took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Saltalamacchia pounded a 3-and-2 pitch from McAllister over the wall in right for his third home run.
"It was a fastball," McAllister said. "I tried to go in but got too much of the middle of the plate."
Dustin Pedroia's RBI single in the fifth extended the Boston lead to 3-1, but in the bottom of the fifth, Aviles doubled and eventually scored on an infield groundout by Drew Stubbs to make it 3-2.
NOTES: Boston designated hitter David Ortiz is expected to be activated off the disabled list Friday. He has been out since the start of the season due to inflammation in his heels. ... Uehara has pitched 18 consecutive scoreless innings and has gone 22 consecutive scoreless outings during the streak, which dates to Sept. 1 of last year. ... Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis is expected to return to the lineup Friday. He hasn't played since April 12 because of a sore left elbow. ... The Indians announced that Scott Kazmir will come off the DL and make his first start of the season Saturday against Houston.