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Saturday, July 11, 2009
Hammer don't hurt 'em!
Aside from the fact that the Kansas City Royals were involved, last night's game at Fenway had all the trappings of a playoff classic.
Jon Lester and Brian Bannister dueled for seven scoreless innings before Boston was able to push a run across in the eighth. That was all the Sox (52-34) would need as they won 1-0.
Bannister (6-7) lasted 7.2 innings, giving up one run on three hits with four walks and seven strikeouts.
Lester (8-6) continued his stretch of lights out pitching with eight scoreless frames. He gave up four hits, walked two and struck out eight.
Mark Teahan was the only Royal (37-49) who could solve Lester. Teahan had three of his team's four hits for the game.
Mark Kotsay started the eighth inning rally for the Sox with a single. Aaron Bates pinch ran for him and Nick Green bunted him to second (with two strikes!). After Bates moved up on a passed ball, Dustin Pedroia came through in the clutch with a rope double off the Monster.
Perhaps the most promising aspect of last night was that Jonathan Papelbon had his best outing of the season. He got a 1-2-3 ninth (something he's been allergic to this season) with a strikeout. It only took him 11 pitches and he was hitting 97 on the juiced NESN gun.
John Smoltz looks for his first Red Sox win tonight.