It was a play ripped out of the post-breakup handbook.
After a bitter ending with the Red Sox two years ago, Terry Francona was eventually able to find something new and at present something hotter.
That something was the Cleveland Indians.
Returning to Fenway Park as a manager for the first time, Francona brought with him the best team in the majors over the past month.
His ex-team was by no means in bad shape. The Sox were sitting a half-game out of first place Thursday under the leadership of one of Francona’s close friends, John Farrell.
But the Indians came away with a 12-3 win in the opener of a four-game series on a night that started windy and ended soggy. Cleveland tagged the Sox for 16 hits, allowing starter Zach McAllister to kick his feet up over his five innings.
Thanks to a twice-delayed game Wednesday night, the Indians get to their hotel in Boston until 4 a.m. But if they were at all fatigued, it was hard to notice.
Farrell threw three pitchers at them in the first six innings and they all got knocked around. Ryan Dempster was trying to shake off a pair of bad starts, but he ran into the wrong lineup.
Dempster gave up four runs on five hits and four walks, and got the quick hook after a three-run third inning.
The third frame started strong enough for Dempster. He won an eight-pitch battle with Jason Kipnis, getting him to whiff at a splitter down and away.
But Dempster quickly lost his control, and the inning got away from him as well.
He gave up a one-out single to Asdrubal Cabrera, issued back-to-back walks to Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana, gave up a two-run single to Mark Reynolds, walked Yan Gomes, and gave up an RBI fielder’s choice before finally striking out Drew Stubbs to keep the Indians from batting around.
In his last three starts Dempster has given up 15 earned runs in 12⅔ innings, paying dearly for his 11 walks.
Still, the with one swing by David Ortiz in the bottom of the inning, the Sox were back in it for a fleeting moment.
With Daniel Nava and Dustin Pedroia on, Ortiz turned on McAllister’s 92-mile-per-hour fastball and launched it over the Indians bullpen, cutting the deficit to 4-3.
It could have been a grand slam had Jacoby Ellsbury not been cut down at the plate while trying to score from second on Pedroia’s single to center field.
Pedroia’s hit was low, nearly taking McAllister’s head off. Center fielder Michael Bourn grabbed it on the fourth hop and came up gunning. He threw a strike to the plate and Gomes was able to swipe Ellsbury on the back of his jersey before Ellsbury could get a hand on the plate.
From there, the Indians teed off.
Cabrera, who has heated up after stumbling in April, had his sixth multi-hit game of the season. Stubbs went 3 for 5 with a double, a triple, and three RBIs, snapping out of an 0-for-10 slumber. Reynolds went 3 for 4 and drove in three.
Cleveland blew it open with a six-run sixth. Reynolds ripped an RBI single, Gomes shot a two-run double to left, Stubbs tripled over Ellsbury’s head in center to score a pair, and Bourn singled home Stubbs.
In all, the Indians had 16 hits, five for extra bases, and were 8 for 19 with runners in scoring position.
The Sox had issues offensively. The bottom of the order, from Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the sixth slot on down, went 0 for 14.
Will Middlebrooks, who’s been trying to work his way out of a slump, struck out looking twice before leaving with lower-back spasms.
Between Ortiz’s third-inning home run and Nava’s eighth-inning double, the Sox had just one base runner.Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.