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Middlebrooks’s 3 HRs Powers Red Sox to 13-0 Win

Will Middlebrooks celebrates the first of his three home runs with Mike Napoli, who matched Middlebrooks with 4 RBIs against Toronto. (AP PHOTO/THE CANADIAN PRESS,Chris Young)

Third baseman Will Middlebrooks led the Boston Red Sox offense with three of its six home runs on the afternoon while Jon Lester threw 7 shutout innings, as the Red Sox thrashed the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre, 13-0.

Last year’s NL Cy Young R.A. Dickey was handed his second consecutive loss to start the 2013 season, surrendering 8 runs (7 earned) in just 4.2 innings. This followed his poor debut for Toronto on Opening Day, in which Dickey gave up 4 runs (3 earned) while allowing 4 walks and 5 hits over 6 innings.

Middlebrooks hit home runs off Dickey in the first and fourth innings, before going deep again for another solo home run in the seventh inning off Toronto reliever Dave Bush. Overall, the second-year third baseman was 4-of-5  with 4 RBIs. Daniel Nava, Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Napoli each went deep as well.

On the mound, Lester improved to 2-0 on the young season by scattering 5 hits and striking out six over 7 innings of work.

The Red Sox gave Lester an early lead before he even stepped onto the mound, jumping on Dickey with five straight hits to open the game with a 5-0 lead before an out was even recorded. Dustin Pedroia had an RBI single after Ellsbury led off with a double and only advanced to third on a single by Shane Victorino. Napoli drove in both Pedroia and Victorino with a double to deep center, before Middlebrooks connected on his first home run of the game, a two-run opposite field shot that just cleared the fence in the right field corner.

Boston tacked on single runs in the third and fourth innings on a Nava sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Ellsbury. After hitting his second home run off Dickey in the fourth, Middlebrooks went back-to-back with Nava in the seventh inning to make it 10-0 Boston. Ellsbury and Napoli would go deep in the eighth inning to round out the 13-run outburst, one day after mustering just two hits and no runs against Toronto’s J.A. Happ.

Clayton Mortensen relieved Lester in the eighth inning to finish out the game with two scoreless innings (2 hits, 4 Ks). Pedro Ciriaco also replaced Pedroia at second base, and Mike Carp pinch-hit for Victorino in the eighth and took over at first, with Nava shifting to right field.

The Red Sox ran their record to 4-2 on the season, good for the meaningless prize of first place in the AL East after six games. Coming home to Fenway Park for the first time this season, Boston will look to strengthen their hold on the division lead with three games in four days against the Baltimore Orioles. This will be  the third of four straight series against an AL East rival to open the season.

Clay Buchholz (1-0, 1.29 ERA) will pitch the home opener opposite the Orioles’ Wei-Yin Chen. Chen received a no-decision in his first start of the season despite allowing just two runs in 5.2 innings. First pitch is Monday afternoon at 2:05 p.m.

About Nick Bohlen - @ndbohlen

Nick is an editor and regular contributor for the Patriots, Celtics, and Red Sox sections of SoB. (Despite growing up in Vermont, just a short drive from Canada, hockey never really caught on with him.) Follow him on twitter: @ndbohlen

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