Adrian Gonzalez had four of Boston's 19 hits, adding four RBIs on Friday night as the Red Sox welcomed the Chicago Cubs back to Fenway Park for the first time since 1918 by beating them 15-5.
Kevin Youkilis had two doubles and a two-run homer, and Jacoby Ellsbury also had three hits for Boston, which won its seventh consecutive game. The Red Sox are 22-10 since losing 10 of their first 12 games; they have passed the New York Yankees for the first time this season, and now trail the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays by just a half-game.
Jon Lester (6-1) won his sixth straight decision despite giving up a career-high 12 hits. He allowed five runs, two walks and a hit batter, striking out five. Jarrod Saltalamacchia also homered for Boston, and Scott Atchison earned his first save with three innings of scoreless relief.
Jeff Baker had four hits and Aramis Ramirez three for Chicago, which was coming off a two-game sweep of the Florida Marlins. Doug Davis (0-2) gave up seven runs on eight hits and three walks, striking out three in 3 2-3 innings.
It was the Cubs' first visit to Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series, a milestone that for decades reminded Boston fans of the franchise's failure but now stands as a landmark only for Chicago as it seeks its first championship since 1908.
Cubs fans made their presence known in the sellout crowd of 37,140, outcheering the locals at times. There was even an appearance of the Blues Brothers in the stands.
But the Chicago players did not adapt well to their new surroundings, committing four errors plus a dropped flyball by right fielder Reed Johnson that was changed to a double. The Red Sox scored two in the first, one of them on a throwing error by catcher Koyie Hill when he tried to catch Jacoby Ellsbury stealing third.
The Cubs tied it at 2 in the third, but Boston scored two more in the bottom half and then made it 8-2 with four more runs in the fourth. After Gonzalez's two-run single chased Davis, Scott Maine came in and gave up a two-run homer to Youkilis.
The Cubs cut it to 8-5 in the fifth, scoring two on a double by Johnson. Saltalamacchia led off the bottom half with a homer and Boston added another run to make it 10-5, then scored two more in the eighth.
The Red Sox won the 1918 Series in six games, with just 15,238 fans settling into Fenway to watch the clincher. (The Chicago History Museum recently published a document indicating that Cubs players might have been paid to throw the Series.) Babe Ruth, who won two games in the series, entered the final game as a defensive replacement in left field. Just two months later, World War I ended.
With two titles in this century, the Red Sox have left their futility behind. But the Cubs are still looking for their first championship in more than a century.