Boston at Oakland

W: J. Lester (1-1) L: A. Embree (0-1)
HR: BOS - D. Ortiz (1), J. Varitek (1)   OAK - None

Lester, BoSox shut out Athletics for third win in four-game series wire reports

OAKLAND, Calif. -- After opening day in Japan, an exhibition weekend in Los Angeles and yet another opener in Oakland, the Boston Red Sox are finally headed back east from the Far East.

And they're still off to a rock-solid start to their crazy season.

Jon Lester pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning, David Ortiz broke open a scoreless game with a two-run homer and the Red Sox beat the Athletics 5-0 Wednesday.

Kevin Youkilis had a double and a run-scoring single while setting the major league record for consecutive errorless games by a first baseman as the Red Sox defeated the A's for the third time in a four-game series that began last week in Tokyo. Boston won two straight in Oakland, with Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka carrying the Red Sox until their hitters perk up.

"We're certainly not on all cylinders," manager Terry Francona said. "That may be part of the trip ... but what they did today was good enough."

The Red Sox still aren't done with a 16,000-mile trip that included two exhibitions against Japanese teams and a game in front of 115,300 fans at Los Angeles' Memorial Coliseum. Boston has a three-game weekend series in Toronto before finally getting back to Fenway Park.

Lester (1-1), who lost his season debut in Japan, didn't allow an Oakland runner to reach second base after the first inning. He retired 10 straight batters before Emil Brown dropped a weak single into right field with two outs in the seventh. Lester then left to a standing ovation from a crowd made up of roughly 75 percent Red Sox fans.

"I don't think the whole Japan thing is as big a deal as everybody is making it out to be," Lester said. "Sure, it was a long flight, but we had a few days to adjust, and now I think it's fine."

Jason Varitek added a ninth-inning homer for Boston, and relievers Bryan Corey and Manny Delcarmen completed the shutout for the World Series champions, who held the A's to one run in the last two games.

Ortiz was hitless in his first 12 at-bats this season before a fifth-inning single. He followed with a drive over the right-field fence against former Red Sox reliever Alan Embree (0-1) as the A's bullpen wasted Rich Harden's second strong start.

"I always do, I don't know why," Ortiz said of his penchant for slow starts. "It's about the same this year. It might be a little more crazy because we've been out of the country for a while."

Lester was matched by Harden, the injury-plagued right-hander who started just four games last year. He yielded four hits and four walks while striking out six and repeatedly escaping trouble in five innings.

"I wanted to keep my pitch count down and get a little deeper into the game," Harden said. "But it was one of those ones today where I kind of battled through it and threw a lot of pitches. I didn't really have any quick innings, so there's no point in pushing it. As the season goes on, we're going to extend it, definitely."

Harden and Lester faced each other last month in Tokyo, with Harden getting the win with nine strikeouts in six innings of three-hit ball.

Youkilis played his 194th consecutive mistake-free game at first base to break Steve Garvey's record for errorless games at their position. Youkilis even made a running, over-the-shoulder catch of Bobby Crosby's foul popup to end the seventh, and he adeptly fielded Jack Cust's grounder to end the game.

The A's gave first base to Youkilis in appreciation, and the ball used on his final putout was sent to the Hall of Fame.

"It's an achievement you never set out to do, but it's a great honor," Youkilis said.

Dustin Pedroia and Youkilis drove in runs as the Red Sox hit five consecutive singles to lead off the eighth, and Varitek added his first homer of the season off A's closer Huston Street in the ninth.

Oakland managed just seven hits in its first two home games, with the pitching-rich Cleveland Indians arriving Friday.

"A lot of guys seem to getting into a little lull at the same time," A's manager Bob Geren said. "A lot of the guys that are struggling actually swung the bats well in the spring. Just a couple of them are going through it right now, but they'll be fine."


  • Lester is the first Red Sox left-hander to win a game at the Coliseum since May 29, 1995, when Zane Smith beat Dave Stewart.
  • Manny Ramirez hit a 399-foot drive to center after Ortiz's homer, but Chris Denorfia leaped to catch it at the fence. Ramirez went 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts.
  • Boston RF J.D. Drew made his season debut, going 1-for-5 with two strikeouts. He hadn't played since his lower back tightened up March 25.
  • Garvey set the record with San Diego from June 1983-April 1985.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Manny Ramirez greets teammate David Ortiz at home after the DH blasts his first HR of the season.  (AP)
Manny Ramirez greets teammate David Ortiz at home after the DH blasts his first HR of the season. (AP)

Players of the Game

J. Lester
IP 6.2
H 3
ER 0
BB 3
K 3

D. Ortiz
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

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Boston Red Sox
Dustin Pedroia, 2B5021015 .250
Kevin Youkilis, 1B4121111 .400
David Ortiz, DH4122123 .133
Manny Ramirez, LF4000126 .235
    Jacoby Ellsbury, LF0000000 .222
Mike Lowell, 3B4000014 .188
J.D. Drew, RF5010023 .200
Jason Varitek, C4221100 .250
Coco Crisp, CF5120000 .333
Alex Cora, SS20201001.000
2B - Kevin Youkilis (1, Embree)
HR - David Ortiz (1, Embree), Jason Varitek (1, Street)
RBI - Dustin Pedroia (1), Kevin Youkilis (1), David Ortiz 2 (2), Jason Varitek (2)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Varitek (2)
CS - Mike Lowell (1, 2nd base by A. Brown/Suzuki)
Team LOB - 12
Outfield Assists - J.D. Drew 1
DP - Cora-Pedroia-Youkilis, Cora-Pedroia-Youkilis, Drew-Youkilis
Boston Red Sox
Jon Lester (W,1-1) 6.2300330 3.38
Bryan Corey (H,1) 1.1100020 2.70
Manny Delcarmen 1000000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lester 94-53, Bryan Corey 26-16, Manny Delcarmen 15-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lester 6-8, Bryan Corey 1-1, Manny Delcarmen 2-1
Batters Faced - Jon Lester 23, Bryan Corey 5, Manny Delcarmen 3
Oakland Athletics
Mark Ellis, 2B3000111 .071
Daric Barton, 1B4010001 .077
Mike Sweeney, DH3000101 .250
Jack Cust, LF4000022 .100
Emil Brown, RF3010001 .214
Bobby Crosby, SS2000101 .286
Kurt Suzuki, C3010001 .357
Jack Hannahan, 3B3010021 .286
Chris Denorfia, CF2000001 .250
   a- Dan Johnson, PH1000000 .000
    Ryan Sweeney, CF0000000 .000
a-grounded out for Denorfia in the 8th
2B - Daric Barton (1, Lester)
Team LOB - 4
DP - Ellis-Barton, Suzuki-Crosby-Barton, Crosby-Ellis-Barton
Oakland Athletics
Rich Harden 5400460 0.82
Andrew Brown 0.2100110 0.00
Alan Embree (L,0-1) 1.1222011 4.91
Lenny DiNardo0422000 54.00
Santiago Casilla 1100010 0.00
Huston Street 1111001 13.50
HBP - Lowell (by Andrew Brown), Cora (by Alan Embree)
Pitches-Strikes - Rich Harden 86-53, Andrew Brown 15-7, Alan Embree 19-12, Lenny DiNardo 16-12, Santiago Casilla 12-7, Huston Street 20-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rich Harden 2-6, Alan Embree 1-2, Santiago Casilla 1-0
Batters Faced - Rich Harden 22, Andrew Brown 4, Alan Embree 7, Lenny DiNardo 4, Santiago Casilla 3, Huston Street 4
Game Information
Attendance - 21625
Game Time - 3:00
Temperature - 55
Umpires - Home - Paul Schrieber, First Base - Rob Drake, Second Base - Brian Knight, Third Base - Wally Bell