CLEVELAND (AP) - The Indians knew it was coming.
They were due, perhaps overdue, to play a miserable game. At some point, their impressive, unexpected start figured to slow down.
On Wednesday, it came to a grinding halt.
Mitch Talbot came off the disabled list and Boston put a hurting on him, scoring seven runs in the first inning as the Red Sox rocked the Indians 14-2, handing Cleveland its largest loss this year and winning two of the last three games in the series.
``Every team is going to have a game like this,' shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera said. ``We have to forget about today.'
Boston starter Jon Lester shut out Cleveland on three hits over six innings and the Red Sox racked up a season-high 20 hits.
This was lopsided, and then some.
``It was an uphill battle from the get-go,' Indians manager Manny Acta said. ``It's not a very good feeling before you get to the plate and you're trailing 7-0 against Jon Lester. I don't think even the '27 Yankees would have a good feeling trailing 7-0 against this guy.'
Talbot, activated before the game, was tagged with eight runs and 12 hits in three innings - the worst outing of his career. Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run homer to start Boston's first-inning onslaught, when all the Red Sox hits were rockets.
``Rough day for Mitch,' Acta said. ``It's easy to describe. The average lineup at the major-league level does a lot of damage when the pitcher is behind in the count and that's not an average lineup over there. If it wasn't for a couple of diving catches, his outing would have been even shorter.'
Talbot chalked it up as ``just kind of one of those days.'
The Indians can only hope there aren't any more like it.
Talbot's ERA swelled from 1.46 to 5.87. He had been on the disabled list with a right elbow strain, and hadn't pitched since shutting out the Los Angeles Angels for eight innings on April. Acta wouldn't pin Talbot's bad performance on the long layoff.
``He pitched in Triple-A,' Acta said. ``He just pitched five days ago. It's 60 feet, 6 inches wherever you go. We don't make excuses for anybody. We've never done it and we're not going to start now.'
Lester (7-1) allowed three hits in six shutout innings and won his seventh straight decision. It was a very different start than his previous one in Cleveland on April 7, when he pitched seven shutout innings and got a no-decision in Boston's 1-0 loss.
Even with all the run support, Lester didn't take anything for granted. He was locked in from the get-go.
``It's tough sometimes to pitch with those leads, but you just have to focus on taking it one inning, one pitch at a time,' Lester said. ``Sometimes it's hard, but for the most part I was able to do that.'
Lester gave up a pair of singles in the first before retiring 15 straight. Cabrera finally got to the left-hander for two-out double in the sixth. But after walking Shin-Soo Choo, Lester retired Shelley Duncan on an easy tapper to end the Indians' only scoring chance against him.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Drew Sutton had three hits apiece for Boston, which didn't even have its best lineup. Sutton replaced third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who sat out with a sore left hand. Outfielder J.D. Drew also sat, resting a strained hamstring.
Choo had two errors in right field for the Indians, who were bound to have a bad game after weeks of playing sound ball in an otherwise splendid season.
This was bad - and beyond.
The Red Sox never let up.
``Anytime you're facing a team like that,' Indians infielder Adam Everett said, ``when they smell blood, they just keep going.'
Pedroia, who was given the night off on Tuesday, homered and drove in three runs and Ellsbury singled and scored twice in the first-inning outburst, when the Red Sox gave Lester enough cushion for three games.
As Talbot got rocked, Cleveland's bullpen remained quiet as Acta decided to let his starter take a few lumps rather than waste a reliever.
``I wasn't making my pitches,' said Talbot. ``I wasn't hitting my spots. It was almost like even if I was, they were still going to find a hole.'
The Red Sox added five in the sixth, highlighted by Ortiz's blast to right field off Frank Herrmann that nearly reached the second deck in Progressive Field.
Notes: Indians CF Grady Sizemore ran the bases twice before the game and said he didn't have any problems. He's expected to be activated this weekend in Tampa Bay. Acta did not say when Sizemore will come off the DL. He has been out since last week with a bruised kneecap he injured sliding. ... Cleveland is 8-4 against the AL East after starting 7-0. ... Indians C Carlos Santana didn't play for the second time in three days. He's in an 0 for 19 slump.
The Associated Press News Service
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