CLEVELAND – Ubaldo Jimenez struck out a season-high 10 for his first win in more than a month and the Cleveland Indians beat Boston 5-3 on Thursday night, handing the Red Sox their seventh loss in nine games.
Jimenez (9-11) allowed three runs over six innings as Cleveland won its second straight after losing 11 in a row. He had been 0-4 with an 8.41 ERA in five starts since beating Tampa Bay on July 7.
Jason Donald hit a leadoff homer against Felix Doubront (10-6) and drove in two runs for the Indians, who took a 4-3 lead with a three-run fifth.
Chris Perez earned his 30th save in 34 chances for Cleveland, which fired pitching coach Scott Radinsky before the game. Perez pitched a perfect ninth after blowing saves Sunday and Tuesday, allowing eight runs over 1 1-3 innings in those two appearances.
It was Perez's first clean-shaven outing of the season. He shaved his scraggly beard before Wednesday's game, when Cleveland beat Minnesota to end its losing streak.
The Indians improved to 24-13 in series openers, second to the New York Yankees' 24-12.
It wasn't how the Red Sox wanted to open a 10-game road trip that includes three-game series against AL East rivals Baltimore and New York.
Boston ran itself out of a potential rally in the seventh. With one out and Pedro Ciriaco on second base, Carl Crawford grounded a pitch from reliever Tony Sipp to shortstop. Asdrubal Cabrera fielded it and threw to third as Ciriaco tried to advance. Cabrera took third baseman Brent Lillibridge's return throw and tagged out Ciriaco, then whirled and threw to second to nail Crawford
Jimenez leads the AL with 77 walks. But the only free pass he issued Thursday was to the first batter of the game, Jacoby Ellsbury.
Donald put the Indians ahead 1-0 in the first. He hit a 2-0 pitch from Doubront the opposite way, just fair and into the first row of seats in right for his first homer.
Donald was recalled from Triple-A Columbus when designated hitter Travis Hafner went on the disabled list with lower back inflammation. Donald became a late lineup replacement for second baseman Jason Kipnis, scratched with a sore neck.
Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in Boston's fourth. Half of Gonzalez's career hits against Jimenez have been homers. The first baseman was 5 for 28 against the right-hander before pulling a 1-1 pitch to right for his third career homer off him.
Dustin Pedroia's RBI single made it 3-1 in the fifth. Ellsbury singled and got in scoring position by stealing second — his third steal of the game. Opponents are 30 for 34 stealing against Jimenez's deliberate delivery.
Cleveland went back in front in the bottom half. The Indians tied it at 3 on RBI singles by Cabrera and Carlos Santana. Andrew Miller came on with the bases loaded and yielded a go-ahead sacrifice fly to Michael Brantley.
Donald made it 5-3 with an RBI grounder in the eighth.
NOTES: Indians RHP Joe Smith termed Radinsky's firing "a shock, but the business side of baseball." ... Boston DH David Ortiz, out since July 18 with a sore heel, is slated to run the bases Friday. He could be activated Sunday. ... Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said RHP Josh Beckett felt no discomfort in his back or shoulder Wednesday when he allowed eight runs in five innings against Texas in his first start since July 31. ... Indians RHP Roberto Hernandez is scheduled to start for Columbus on Friday. His three-week suspension for pitching under the false name of Fausto Carmona ends Saturday. ... Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey (thumb surgery) struck out two in a scoreless inning on a rehab assignment for Triple-A Pawtucket. Bailey, acquired from Oakland in the offseason to be Boston's closer, has been out since spring training.