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BOS@TOR: Ortiz launches a three-run blast to right

TORONTO -- There are a lot of ways to describe the heightened physical and mental focus that the Red Sox seem to posses over their last nine games. But David Ortiz put it best.

"I'm a mindfreak out there right now," Ortiz said after he and the rest of the Red Sox hitters feasted on the Blue Jays' pitching staff for the second straight afternoon, as Boston pummeled its hosts, 14-1, at Rogers Centre on Sunday.

Ortiz went deep for the second time in as many days and added four RBIs as part of a Boston attack that was relentless in the three-game series, outscoring the Blue Jays 35-6 and outhitting them 46-12.

Ortiz more than enjoyed his time north of the border, hitting a pair of homers and collecting seven RBIs. He's been on a tear since the start of May, leading the Majors with 30 extra-base hits and 15 homers. He's hitting .360 with 32 RBIs over that span.

"I'm seeing the ball and swinging at it," Ortiz said. "I'm just trying to go game-by-game and do my best. I'm not thinking about anything right now. I'm trying to keep my mind clean. I just come the next day and play."

Sunday's 13-run drubbing was Boston's ninth consecutive win -- the longest streak in the Majors this season.

It also marked the third time in its last five games that the team has scored double digits and the fifth game in a row that the Sox have put up a double digit total in the hit column.

"We've gotten contributions from pretty much one through nine -- it's a good way to play," manager Terry Francona said. "That doesn't happen like that all the time, but you take it when you can get it."

Almost lost in the midst of the offensive eruption were the three stellar performances the Red Sox got from their starting pitchers, including Sunday starter John Lester, who allowed just two hits and one earned run while striking out eight over eight innings.

Lester was perfect through 3 2/3 innings before Major League home run leader Jose Bautista handed him his only blemish, a solo home run that bounced off the top of the wall in deep center field. It was right back to work for Lester after that, as he retired 13 of the next 15 batters he faced en route to his American League-best ninth win.

"Fastball command was pretty good today. That's probably the best changeup I've thrown in a while," Lester said. "It's just nice to go out there and be able to repeat every inning. It's a good thing to keep building off of and take into my next [start.]"

Lester's stellar eight innings may have been overshadowed by what the Red Sox hitters were doing at the plate, but the performance certainly was not lost on his former pitching coach and current Blue Jays manager Jon Farrell.

"He was seemingly in cruise control the entire time he was on the mound," Farrell said. "He had four pitches for strikes. It was a constant mix and change of speeds throughout the eight innings he was out there today. He was very efficient."

But most will remember this day for the Red Sox offense which has completely quelled any questions from its early season slump with nearly two straight weeks of solid production.

Adrian Gonzalez started the fireworks early with a home run to right-center field in the first inning off Toronto starter Kyle Drabek.

For Gonzalez, it was his ninth straight game with at least one hit and one RBI as he continues to build his lead atop the AL leaderboards in most hitting categories. He has more hits (91), RBIs (60), doubles (22) and total bases (156) than anyone else in the league.

"The guys ahead of me are doing a great job of getting on base," Gonzalez said. "People keep asking me about the RBIs, but that's all about the guys ahead of me. They're doing an incredible job of giving me multiple opportunities every day."

Those guys ahead of Gonzalez were Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia, who combined to go 3-for-9 Sunday and 14-for-29 in the series with 12 runs scored.

Pedroia had an especially solid series after missing just his third game of the season Thursday in New York with a bruised right knee. He went 8-for-12 with four walks, a home run and six RBIs over the three-game set.

"Me and Ells, we just have to get on base, and then it's just a gauntlet behind us," Pedroia said. "There's nowhere to put those guys and you have to pitch to them."

The Red Sox scored two more in the third on a Gonzalez groundout and a Kevin Youkilis single before blowing the game wide open with a six-run fifth. The first seven batters in the inning reached base, and six of them came around to score as Boston batted around for the third time in its last two games.

After Ellsbury led off the inning with a single, Pedroia hit a two-run homer to deep left field. Three batters later, Ortiz hit his second three-run homer in as many days to give Lester more than enough runs for an easy victory.

"It's fun to pitch behind. I don't think you'll ever overhear a pitcher complain about a long inning or a lot of runs," Lester said. "It's fun to watch and it's pretty cool to do what we're doing right now."

Lester's performance stood in stark contrast to Drabek, who left after four-plus innings, allowing eight runs on seven hits. The young Blue Jays starter walked four and threw more than half his pitches for balls.

Lester, on the other hand, pounded the zone with 67 percent of his pitches landing for strikes. The commanding lead allowed the 27-year-old to pitch quickly, attacking the Blue Jays' hitters with first-pitch fastballs and getting ahead of 18 of the 25 batters he faced with first-pitch strikes.

"It's easier to [pitch] when you've got a lead like that. You can go out and attack," Lester said. "You don't have to nitpick. You don't have to worry about trying to be perfect with everything. You've got room to make a mistake."

Next up for the surging Red Sox is an off-day Monday and a three-game set in St. Petersburg starting Tuesday, when the team will vie for a sweep of this nine-game, three-city road swing through the tough AL East.

But despite scoring more runs in their last three games than the Rays have in their last 10, Francona and his troops won't be taking anything for granted.

"When we go to Tampa, it won't mean anything," Francona said of the Red Sox's recent power surge. "We've got a much needed day off, and we'll use it. But then we go down to a place that's been a tough place for us to win. But we're excited about it." Comments