CLEVELAND — Most teams in a mini-slump would prefer not to face Chris Sale. The Cleveland Indians aren’t one of those teams.
Jay Bruce and Francisco Lindor homered, Yandy Diaz had four hits, and the Indians continued their domination of Sale with a 13-6 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night at Progressive Field.
Giovanny Urshela added a career-high four RBIs as Cleveland unleashed an 18-hit attack in a game started by Sale, the leading candidate for the American League Cy Young Award.
The two teams, both American League division leaders, split their four-game series.
In his shortest outing of the season by far, matching the shortest outing of his career, Sale (14-6) pitched three innings, giving up seven runs, six earned, on seven hits. He walked a season-high three and struck out a season-low three as his career record against Cleveland fell to 5-8 with a 4.78 ERA.
In two starts against the Indians this year, Sale has a 14.63 ERA, having given up 13 runs on 15 hits in eight innings.
“I wish I knew why I haven’t had much luck against this team,” Sale said. “Tonight, I stunk. Everything I threw was out over the plate, center cut. Right there.”
Boston manager John Farrell said, “Cleveland is a good fastball hitting team. It’s a matter of throwing your fastball to both sides of the plate and then slowing them down with your secondary stuff.”
In the previous two games, Cleveland was held to a total of four hits and two runs by Boston pitching, with the Red Sox winning both times. Thursday was a different story.
“I don’t know,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It’s not like our guys say, ‘Oh good, Sale’s pitching!’ We’ve done better than most teams against him, but he’s really good.”
Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer (13-8) needed 104 pitches to get through 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts and three walks.
“It was kind of a struggle,” Bauer said. “I wasn’t sharp and didn’t command the ball very well, but the team picked me up.”
Boston’s Mitch Moreland had three hits, including two home runs, and four RBIs.
The Indians, held to four hits in their previous 18 innings, had four hits in their first eight batters. Cleveland opened it up with a four-run second inning against Sale.
RBI hits by Roberto Perez, Urshela and Lindor led that charge.
Boston got a run back in the third. Moreland, leading off the inning, hit a 1-2 pitch from Bauer deep into the lower deck in right field for his 16th home run, cutting the Cleveland lead to 4-1.
“He gets into those hot streaks and is a power threat in that part of the lineup,” Farrell said of Moreland, the seventh-place hitter.
In the bottom of the third, the Indians continued their assault on Sale. Edwin Encarnacion led off the inning with a walk. Bruce struck out, but Brandon Guyer also walked. Diaz, who had a single, two doubles and a triple, then ripped a double off the right field wall, scoring Encarnacion to make it 5-1.
Perez grounded out to the mound for the second out, but Urshela followed with a two-run single to center, scoring Guyer and Diaz and giving Cleveland a 7-1 lead.
“We really did a good job offensively and made one of the best pitchers in baseball work hard,” Francona said.
A two-run triple by Xander Bogaerts and an RBI single by Moreland in the fourth shaved Cleveland’s lead to 7-4.
An RBI single by Urshela in the bottom of the fifth pushed the Indians’ lead to 8-4.
Bruce’s solo home run and an RBI double by Perez in the sixth inning made it 10-4. Lindor capped a three-hit night with a solo homer in the Indians’ three-run seventh inning.
“We couldn’t slow them down even after Chris left,” Farrell said.
The Red Sox scored twice in the eighth, the runs coming on a two-run homer by Moreland.
NOTES: Boston RF Mookie Betts left the game in the eighth inning due to a bruised right knee. ... OF Rajai Davis, acquired in a trade with Oaklandon Wednesday, joined the Red Sox on Thursday. He took over in the field for Betts and went 0-for-1. ... The Red Sox also activated RHP Blaine Boyer from the 10-day disabled list while optioning INF Deven Marrero and RHP Hector Velazquez to Triple-A Pawtucket. ... Indians RHP Josh Tomlin will make a rehab start Friday with rookie-level Mahoning Valley (Ohio). Tomlin has been on the disabled list since July 31 due to a left hamstring strain. ... Cleveland 1B Carlos Santana missed his third consecutive game with a lower back strain. Manager Terry Francona said he hopes Santana will be able to return to the lineup Friday.