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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Jon Lester Looks Like An Ace Again: In A Pitcher's Park Against a Crappy Lineup

After losing three series in a row and going 3-7 in their last 10 games, not to mention holding on by the skin of their teeth (1 game lead on Tampa Bay) to first place in the AL East, tonight the Red Sox desperately needed a win. Jon Lester (11-7) delivered the goods with his best performance of the season (8.1 shutout innings, 6 hits, 3 strikeouts, 2 walks) as Boston (74-53 overall, 34-30 away) began a six-game road trip with a 7-0 pasting of the Giants (55-69 overall, 31-32 home) at AT&T Park. The Rays opened their pivotal series in Baltimore with a 4-3 win to remain one game back of the Red Sox.

The ghost of Tim Lincecum (6-13) stopped by for a little while (5 innings, 5 earned runs, 9 hits, 104 pitches) but he turned out to be an imposter with short hair and nothing but junk pitches in his arsenal. For whatever reason, he's not fooling anyone these days and Boston made him pay rather quickly for being no better than average. The Red Sox plated three runs in the second inning on Will Middlebrooks' sacrifice fly, Daniel Nava (3 hits, 2 runs, RBI, walk) scored on a wild pitch and Shane Victorino (3 hits) drove in Stephen Drew (2 hits) with an RBI single.

Drew added an RBI double in the fifth then Jacoby Ellsbury scored on another wild pitch (this time by reliever Guillermo Moscoso) in the sixth. Jarrod Saltalamacchia's (2 hits, 2 runs, walk) RBI double in the ninth and Nava's RBI single served to pad their stats. The Red Sox ended up with twice as many hits (12-6) as the Giants, who it's safe to say won't be winning their third World Series title in four seasons this fall.

John Farrell wanted Lester to get the complete game but he was lifted after allowing back-to-back singles with one out in the ninth and throwing 115 pitches. Brandon Workman came on to strike out the last two San Francisco batters to secure the shutout.

Tomorrow night (10:15, NESN) Jake Peavy (9-5) faces Ryan Vogelsong (2-4); Xander Bogaerts was called up today along with David Ross and both are expected to be in the lineup for the middle game. That would be the MLB debut for Boston's top positional prospect who has been tearing it up all summer at Portland (Double-A) and Pawtucket (Triple-A).

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