BOSTON (AP) – Carl Pavano endured four injury-plagued years in which he gave the New York Yankees very little for their $39.95 million.

So far he’s been a big bargain for the Cleveland Indians.

Pavano pitched his third strong game in three weeks, Victor Martinez homered and drove in four runs, and the Indians ended the Boston Red Sox’s nine-game home winning streak with a 9-2 victory Wednesday night.

“The things I’ve been through the last few years with the injuries, I was able to put it behind me,” said Pavano, who signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract as a free agent.

He allowed two runs in six innings and lowered his ERA in his last four games to 3.75. It was 16.71 after his other two starts. In his previous start on May 1, he allowed two runs in 7 1-3 innings at Detroit.

Pavano (2-3) had spent most of the previous four seasons on the disabled list with shoulder and elbow problems, making only 26 starts and missing the entire 2006 season.

“We felt like he finished last year healthy and he came into spring training in great shape,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. “He built himself like a veteran starting pitcher would.”

Cleveland’s beleaguered bullpen got a boost from its newest member, Aaron Laffey. He had been scheduled to start Thursday night, but the Indians moved him to a relief role and he allowed two hits in three scoreless innings for his first career save. He is 2-0 this year and all 29 of his previous major league appearances were as a starter.

“Old-school save, three innings,” Wedge said. “It was good that we could get him out there right away.”

Pavano allowed both runs in the second.

“We had chances to add on and then, kind of like Pavano did (in his) last outing, he got comfortable,” Boston manager Terry Francona said.

Cleveland pulled to 2-1 on Asdrubal Cabrera’s RBI single in the third before scoring three in the fifth on Martinez’s two-run double and Shin-Soo Choo’s RBI single.

In the seventh, Martinez singled in a run and Mark DeRosa hit a two-run homer. Martinez added a leadoff homer in the ninth before Ben Francisco singled home the final run.

Justin Masterson (2-2) got his first loss at Fenway Park after going 7-0.

“Just disappointed … that it’s a loss,” he said. “Whatever the record was coming in and having the one loss now, it was bound to happen some time.”

Pavano’s track record against the Red Sox has been poor. In his last start against them, he allowed five runs in 3 2-3 innings in a 17-1 loss in New York on May 28, 2005. And in his other two starts at Fenway, he was 0-2 with a 24.75 ERA.

In his last previous start at Fenway when he was with Florida, he allowed six runs without retiring a batter in a 25-8 loss. In his other start there, he took the loss in Montreal’s 15-0 loss.

But on Wednesday, Pavano retired eight of his last nine batters and finished with four strikeouts and three walks. He was helped by double play grounders in the first and second and gave up just two hits in his last four innings.

“The elbow hasn’t been an issue,” he said. ” I’m not satisfied where I’m at right now.”

His roughest inning was the second when the first three batters reached base on a walk to Jason Bay, a double by Mike Lowell and a walk to Jason Varitek that loaded the bases. Bay scored on Jeff Bailey’s double play and Lowell came in on Jonathan Van Every’s single.

Notes: Boston played without 1B Kevin Youkilis, who had tightness in his left side, and CF Jacoby Ellsbury, who had a tight right hamstring. Both were hurt in the two-games series at the New York Yankees that ended Tuesday. … The Indians called up RHP Matt Herges from Triple-A Columbus and optioned LHP Rafael Perez to the minor league team. They also released RHP Juan Salas. … Red Sox SS Jed Lowrie, on the disabled list following surgery on his left wrist, said before the game he hopes top return by the All-Star break.

AP-ES-05-06-09 2328EDT

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