Jacoby Ellsbury experienced at-bats unbecoming a leadoff hitter through six innings last night at soggy Fenway Park, but he came through when it counted the most in the Red Sox’ 8-1 win against the Indians.

Cleveland starter Justin Masterson had effectively neutralized the Red Sox catalyst in their three confrontations — striking out Ellsbury in the first, a groundout to short to open the third, and caught him looking for the first out of the sixth.

Ellsbury’s struggles at the top of manager John Farrell’s batting order weren’t limited to Masterson and the Tribe. He entered the contest batting a paltry .171 (12-for-70) with a .275 OBP in the previous 17 games.

“Jacoby is still working to gain some timing and we were going up against one of the best pitchers in the American League tonight,” said Farrell. “I’d like to look at the last four games with Jacoby and the corner is being turned. That’s what we see and you tip your hat to a very good pitcher in Masterson.”

The Red Sox broke the game open with four runs in the seventh, and Ellsbury delivered the decisive blow of the rally. The bases were loaded with one out when Ellsbury stepped in to face reliever Rich Hill. Ellsbury atoned for his previous plate appearances when he pulled a two-run single to right, scoring Jarrod Saltalamacchia and pinch hitter Jonny Gomes.

“Once we got those four runs it kind of eased everybody, and Ells did a good job getting those two guys in,” said Saltalamacchia. “Ells is an All-Star, he’s going to hit. He’s going through a little sputter right now and he’s hitting balls right at guys. But in big-time situations, he always seems to come through.”

Ellsbury put his other assets into play to score the fourth run of the rally. He recorded his 14th stolen base, and then scored from second on a single to right by Dustin Pedroia.