CLEVELAND — David Price struck out 10 and won his weather-delayed debut for Boston and David Ortiz hit a two-run homer, leading the Red Sox to a 6-2 win over the Cleveland Indians, who were forced to push their season opener back because of wintry conditions.
Price gave up two runs and five hits in six innings, giving the Red Sox and immediate payoff after they signed the left-hander to a seven-year, $217 million contract. Boston is hoping Price can push them back into contention in the AL East after the club finished last in the division the past two seasons.
Ortiz began his farewell season with a bang, connecting for his 504th career homer in the ninth. Big Papi tied Hall of Famer Eddie Murray for 26th place on the career list. Ortiz also doubled.
Monday’s opener was postponed before the gates opened in Progressive Field, where the wind chill dipped temperatures into the upper teens. It was warmer — 34 degrees — and sunny when Kluber fired his first pitch to Betts, but there also thousands of empty seats as many fans couldn’t afford to take a second day off work.
Price didn’t disappoint Red Sox fans, who envision him turning Boston back into a power. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth and improved to 10-2 with a 2.24 ERA in 14 starts against Cleveland.
Boston’s win was also meaningful to manager John Farrell, who left the club last season after he was diagnosed with cancer.
The Red Sox broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth on Brock Holt‘s RBI single and Kluber’s wild pitch.
Betts struck out leading off the first, but Boston’s right fielder didn’t miss one of Kluber’s sliders in the third.
After Jackie Bradley singled, Betts connected on a 1-1 pitch, driving it into the left-field bleachers to give Price an early 2-0 cushion. It was the second straight season Betts has homered in the opener. He hit a solo shot last season in a win at Philadelphia.
The Indians scored twice to tie it in the fourth off Price, who coasted through three innings and was threatening to turn his initial outing for Boston into something historic. He struck out six and easily handled a Cleveland lineup missing its best hitter, injured outfielder Michael Brantley.
Red Sox: RHP Carson Smith (strained flexor muscle) has been throwing in Florida. Farrell said Smith, who is on the 15-day disabled list, will begin a throwing program that will extend to 120 feet before he gets back on the mound.
Indians: Brantley (shoulder surgery) received one of the loudest ovations during pregame introductions. There’s no timetable on when he’ll be back. … RF Lonnie Chisenhall (wrist) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Thursday at Triple-A Columbus.
Red Sox: RHP Clay Buchholz, who started Boston’s opener in 2015, begins his 10th season with the Red Sox. He’s the longest tenured member of the team’s staff. Buchholz went 7-7 last season, but made only 18 starts because of a strained elbow.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco will face the Red Sox for the first time since 2011. The 29-year-old finished last season with at least five strikeouts in 18 straight outings, the longest streak by a Cleveland pitcher since Hall of Famer Bob Feller did it 23 times in 1946.