Slightly less than 10 percent of the schedule has been played, but already, Jon Lester barely resembles the pitcher who lost 14 games last year and registered a career-high ERA.

Lester pitched seven innings and allowed just two runs Thursday night in a 6-3 Red Sox over Cleveland, boosting his record to 3-0 with an ERA of 1.73 ERA.

It's Lester's best start to a season since 2008.

He allowed a run in the second and another in the fifth, but retired eight of the final nine hitters he faced.

"Consistently (getting) his fastball in the bottom of the zone," said manager John Farrell, "is where everything starts and works off of. He's doing a very good job of that."

Farrell stressed the importance of burying the fastball in the lower portion of the strike zone and Lester has made the adjustments to make it happen.

On Thursday night, he had to operate without much use of his curveball, but made do.

"I struggled with it a lttle bit," acknowledged Lester. "But for the most part, (catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia) did a great job keeping my under control and not overthrowing."

"I think his mechanics are back in order," said Saltalamacchia. "He's getting that downward angle. His cutter's better than I've seen it. His mechanics are right, so everything's slowing down for him and he's able to put movement on his all pitches."