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Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Lester continues to dominate Orioles
With last night's 4-0 win over Baltimore at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Jon Lester improved to an unbelievable 8-0 lifetime against the Birds in 10 career starts.
The Red Sox (47-29) continue to get outstanding pitching from everyone on the roster: starters, relievers and the closer. Lester (7-6) allowed just five hits in seven innings, striking out eight and walking none.
It seems like a million years ago (2006) when he struggled so much to find the strike zone. Can we agree that Jon Lester is the AL's best left-hander and the second-best in baseball behind Johan Santana (who is starting to show signs of slowing down)?
Manny Delcarmen got the first two outs in the eighth before Hideki Okajima recorded the final out in the frame. Ramon Ramirez had two outs in the ninth but couldn't finish the job as two Orioles reached base.
This meant that Jonathan Papelbon came into a save situation and came through in an abbreviated outing for his 19th save; Jason Bay made a sliding catch on Baltimore rookie Matt Wieters to end it.
That was Papelbon's 132nd career save for the Red Sox, which ties him with Bob Stanley for the franchise record.
Boston manager flip-flopped a slumping Dustin Pedroia (2 walks, steal) with J.D. Drew at the top of the lineup and it paid off. Drew led off the game with a triple and scored when Pedroia hit a single up the middle.
Jason Varitek's RBI single in the fourth scored Jacoby Ellsbury (2 steals) and two batters later, Varitek came home on Drew's two-run homer.
John Smoltz makes his second start for the Red Sox tonight against Milton, MA native Rich Hill.