Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Jon Lester Proves That He Can Still Bring It, For 1 Game At Least
He hasn't pitched like a top of the rotation guy for months but tonight Jon Lester (9-6) showed that he can still get the job done against a quality opponent in a big game. Boston (61-41 overall, 34-18 home) beat Tampa Bay (59-42 overall, 25-23 away) 6-2 at Fenway Park to improve to 10-4 against the Rays this season and push them back to 1.5 games ahead for first place in the AL East.
In one of his better outings of the season, Lester went 6.1 strong innings and allowed only two earned runs (both on homers) on seven hits with a season-high eight strikeouts and no walks.
Super rookie Wil Myers (double) gave the Rays an early 1-0 lead with a solo shot over the Monster in the second. Boston responded with single runs in the second, third and fifth inning. Mike Carp tied it with an RBI single and Shane Victorino (double) stole home after Dustin Pedroia stole second base and Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar bobbled the throw. The new $100 million dollar man-Pedroia-added a sacrifice fly for the 3-1 Red Sox lead.
Evan Longoria cut it to 3-2 with a mammoth homer to center in the sixth. Boston gave themselves more breathing room in the eighth thanks to Stephen Drew's (run, stolen base) clutch RBI single (yes I really just used clutch and Stephen Drew in the same sentence) and two runs came home on Jose Iglesias' infield single.
The Red Sox bullpen was brilliant as they all completed their jobs perfectly. Matt Thornton got an out against the one batter he faced, Junichi Tazawa recorded four outs (3 on strikeouts) then closer Koji Uehara had a 1-2-3 9th inning with two strikeouts in the non-save situation.
Mike Napoli (2 for 4 with 2 runs, double), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2 for 4 with double, walk) and David Ortiz (2 for 4) all had multiple hits as Boston bounced back from a two-hitter last night with 12 hits this evening.
Tomorrow night (7:10, NESN) should be a good matchup as Felix Doubront (7-3) takes on reigning AL Cy Young winner David Price (4-5) who recently returned from the DL.