CLEVELAND (AP) — Mike Napoli homered against his former Boston teammates and the Cleveland Indians overcame David Ortiz’s second homer in his farewell season to beat the Red Sox 7-6 on Wednesday night.
Napoli broke a 6-all tie in the seventh with his solo shot off Junichi Tazawa (0-1). Napoli, signed as a free agent in November to give the Indians’ lineup some pop, spent 2 1/2 seasons with Boston and helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013. Batting just .207, they traded him to Texas in August.
Napoli’s homer made a winner of reliever Zach McAllister. Cody Allen worked the ninth, retiring Ortiz on drive to left for the final out of Cleveland’s first win.
Ortiz’s 505th career homer moved him past Eddie Murray into 26th place on the career list and triggered a four-run sixth for the Red Sox, who overcame 4-0 and 5-2 deficits.
Carlos Santana hit a three-run homer and Juan Uribe had a game-tying sacrifice fly in the sixth for the Indians.
Ortiz has started his 20th season in fitting fashion. Big Papi, who has always had dramatic flair, hit a two-run homer in Tuesday’s weather-delayed season opener and then kick-started the Red Sox rally. According to Elias, Ortiz joined Red Sox legend Ted Williams as the only players over 40 to homer in each of their team’s first two games.
Ortiz led off the sixth with his 423-foot shot and Hanley Ramirez followed with a homer to chase Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco.
Brock Holt added a two-run homer for Boston.
Down 5-2 in the sixth, the Red Sox scored four times on two homers, a wind-blown double, two walks, a sacrifice fly and a RBI groundout.
Santana connected for his three-run homer in the first off Boston’s Clay Buchholz, who quickly fell into a 4-0 hole in his first start since last July. It wasn’t the return Buchholz had been hoping for after his 2015 season was cut short by an elbow injury. The right-hander made only 18 starts before he was shut down.
Buchholz allowed five runs and six hits in four-plus innings.
After being held to just two runs over nine innings by David Price and three relievers in the opener, the Indians needed only five batters to score four times off Buchholz.
Jason Kipnis hit an RBI double, and following a walk to Napoli, Santana crushed a 431-foot shot to center.
The Indians are counting on the switch-hitting Santana to drive in more runs this season and perhaps hit closer to 30 homers after connecting 19 times in 2015.
Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (sore right knee) is scheduled to throw a simulated game in Florida on Sunday. He didn’t pitch in spring training after being injured during a fielding drill on Feb. 27.
Indians: Manager Terry Francona is reluctant to say anything to star LF Michael Brantley, who is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. “I try not to do anything that he would remotely take as, ‘Hey, let’s go,’ because I know it’s killing him and he’s trying,” Francona said. “I mostly just kind of say hello to him, because I don’t want him one bit to feel the least bit pressured. It’s not like you’ve got to nudge him, man.”
Red Sox: RHP Joe Kelly starts the series finale before the Red Sox head to Toronto. Kelly, who went 10-6 in his first season with Boston, made his major league debut against Cleveland in 2012 with St. Louis. In his last outing spring training, Kelly allowed three home runs in four innings.
Indians: RHP Danny Salazar won 14 games last season after beginning the year at Triple-A Columbus. He’s 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in two career starts against the Red Sox.
Editor’s note: Travis Shaw went 1 for 2 with one run scored before being lifted for a pinch-hitter.