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Francona Wins Big in Return to Fenway

Terry Francona returned to Fenway Park in style, as the Indians pounded the Red Sox 12-3. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

In his return to Fenway Park as manager of the Cleveland Indians, Terry Francona received a much-deserved standing ovation and video tribute. Unfortunately for the Boston Red Sox, he didn’t exactly extend the warmest welcome in return, as the Indians pummeled the Red Sox 12-3 to give Francona the win.

The loss dropped the Red Sox to 13-11 at home.

After throwing 127 pitches in only 4.2 innings his last time out, starter Ryan Dempster‘s struggles continued against Cleveland. He needed 85 pitches on Thursday night just to get through 3.0 innings , giving up four earned runs on five hits and four walks to fall to 2-5. He struck out four. Clayton Mortensen didn’t fare any better relieving Dempster (worse, actually), coughing up five earned runs in a mere 2.0 innings.

David Ortiz was the lone bright spot for the Red Sox offense, as the six through nine spots in the lineup went hitless in 15 at-bats. Ortiz unloaded off Indians starter Zach McAllister in the third inning for a three-run home run over the bullpen in right field, his eighth home run of the season. The blast brought the Red Sox within a run, but only for a moment.

After driving Dempster from the game with three runs in the third inning, including a two-run single from Mark Reynolds, the Indians immediately responded to Ortiz’s big fly with single runs of their own in the fourth and fifth innings. Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Bourn both had RBI singles to put the Tribe ahead 6-3 before the Indians’ breakout sixth inning put the game out of reach.

After loading the bases with no outs against Mortensen, the Indians piled on six runs by almost hitting for the cycle in the inning off reliever Alex Wilson. After Wilson came in for the tired Mortensen, who tossed 50 pitches over his two innings, the Indians tagged him for two RBI singles, a two-run double, and a two-run triple. The big blow in the inning was when Mike Napoli dropped a foul pop up, allowing Yan Gomes to continue his at-bat and scorch a run-scoring double to left.

To add injury to insult, Will Middlebrooks left the game after the fourth inning with back spasms. He was replaced at third base by Pedro Ciriaco.

The Red Sox will try to rebound Friday night as John Lackey (2-4, 3.31 ERA) faces former Red Sox Justin Masterson (7-2, 2.83 ERA). First pitch is at 7:10 PM.

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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