The losingest pitcher in the National League last year is now one of the winningest pitchers in the American League. So far, the Cleveland Indians are quite happy with their offseason trade for Derek Lowe.

Lowe pitched six solid innings Thursday night to get the win in the Indians' 8-3 victory over Boston. Pitching in his former home park, against one of his former teams, Lowe held the Red Sox to two runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and one walk.

With the win, Lowe improved to 5-1 with a 2.47 ERA. The five wins tie Lowe with four other pitchers for the AL lead. Lowe's numbers are in contrast to his record last year with Atlanta, for whom he was 9-17 with a 5.05 ERA.

The Indians acquired Lowe in a trade for a minor league pitcher, with the idea that he could bring some experience, durability and dependability to their rotation. The 38-year-old veteran has done exactly that in the early going.

Lowe started the season as the No. 3 starter, but his numbers look more like those of a No. 1 starter.

"Anyone can be your No. 1 once the season begins," manager Manny Acta said. "Derek has done a good job of picking up for Ubaldo (Jimenez) and Justin (Masterson) and giving them time to put it back together."

Masterson and Jimenez began the season as the No. 1 and No. 2 starters, respectively, but both have struggled. That has made Lowe's fast start even more important because he has picked up some of the slack. Had Lowe gotten off to a poor start, too, it would be difficult to imagine the Indians being where they are in the standings, in first place in the AL Central.