BOSTON (Reuters) - Cleveland starter Justin Masterson got off to a rough start against his former team Boston on Thursday but found his range to strike out nine and lead the Indians to a 7-3 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Boston's loss, combined with the New York Yankees 7-2 win over the Chicago White Sox, saw the Red Sox slip back into a tie with their arch rivals atop the American League East.
The two teams face each other in a three-game series this weekend.
"Just like any good team you're facing, it's always nice to get a quality win against them," Masterson said.
"It's a good atmosphere. It's fun. The fans are great here. They fire you up whether you're on their team or not, because there's lots of noise. It's a fun place to play."
Masterson gave up two runs on three hits in the first inning but soon settled and allowed just two hits over the next five innings. Three Cleveland relievers combined for three hitless innings in support.
Carlos Santana led the Indians offense with three RBI's including a two-run homerun in the sixth inning that broke a 3-3 tie off Boston reliever Franklin Morales, who took the loss.
Cleveland added runs in the seventh and ninth innings to pad their lead.
Boston's Josh Reddick hit a solo homer in the fourth off Masterson.
Erik Bedard made his first start for Boston and allowed three runs on seven hits, striking out five in five innings for a 'no-decision'.
"It's hard after a loss to sit here and say you're excited," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "I thought he really pitched well. I thought his line was certainly worse than the way he pitched."
(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by Peter Rutherford)