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Boston at Seattle

Boston (58-43) «0000200204110
Seattle (38-61)000000000080

Red Sox 4, Mariners 0

CBSSports.com wire reports

SEATTLE -- Seattle is special to Jon Lester, and not only because he's a local favorite.

It's where he was during a series in 2006 when he first had his sore back examined, before being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He has received treatments here during the winter for the rare form of the disease, and doctors in Seattle declared him cancer free before the '07 season.

On Monday, he finally put on a hometown performance that was special, too.

Lester carried a shutout into the eighth inning, struggling Jason Varitek rewarded his manager's faith with a two-run homer and the road-weary Boston Red Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 4-0.

"Unlike the last couple times here, I didn't have the distractions or anything," Lester said after sleeping in his own bed and then completing his fifth start without allowing a run this season, including his no-hitter May 19 against Kansas City.

Before Monday, his ERA in two starts in Seattle was 8.10, his worst against any AL opponent.

Rookie Jed Lowrie hit a two-run single in the eighth and Manny Ramirez, the designated hitter in the absence of David Ortiz, had three singles to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Boston won for only the third time in 13 road games to remain 1½ games behind first-place Tampa Bay in the AL East.

Seattle, entered the season expecting to compete for its first postseason since 2001, lost for the ninth time in 12 games and matched its season low of 23 games under .500.

Lester (8-3) was born in nearby Tacoma and starred at that city's Bellarmine Prep high school. He said distractions and expectations might have been part of the reason for pitching poorly here.

"It's nice to come back home and pitch halfway decent," he said.

Lester struck out six and walked none in 7 1/3 innings. He allowed eight hits, the final one a hard one-hopper off his right shin. He left the game with a trainer and the bases loaded but did not appear injured while watching from the bench as Jonathan Papelbon got Raul Ibanez to ground into a double play.

"It didn't really get me too bad," said Lester, who was wearing a black sleeve over his lower leg but walked without a limp after the game. "It threw me for a loop more than anything. Shouldn't be an issue."

Papelbon finished the ninth for his 29th save in 33 chances in Boston's major league-best 11th shutout. It was Papelbon's first five-out save of the season.

Pitching for the first time since allowing five runs against Minnesota in his previous start July 8, Lester was constantly ahead in counts and allowed three hits through six innings before Ibanez and Jose Lopez singled in the seventh. But he struck out Miguel Cairo on a looping, 76 mph pitch. He then got Jose Vidro, pinch-hitting for rookie Bryan LaHair, to lunge at a 3-1 pitch for a lazy fly out.

Lester had only three three-ball counts in the game.

He also had manager Terry Francona and a trainer out to the mound when he tugged at the inside of his leg after a pitch in the sixth inning.

A protective cup had painfully pinched a certain area.

"You've got to wear them and sometimes they get in the way," Lester said, with a wry smile.

Francona had to laugh at that -- and, for a change, at a game away from Fenway Park.

He said before the game he was annoyed and perplexed by why the AL's best home team (36-11) was its 11th-best on the road (21-32 entering Monday).

He also said he wouldn't pinch-hit for Varitek, his gritty mainstay who was batting .114 in his past 26 games.

"I won't hit for him. We need him. I believe in him. I will always believe in him. When times are tough, you don't waver from that," Francona said. "If we want to get where we ultimately want to get, the faith in him will bear itself out."

Varitek singled sharply in his first at-bat, but Jarrod Washburn kept escaping full counts to keep Boston blanked into the fifth.

Then Washburn (4-9) walked Coco Crisp and a full-count pitch to Varitek was high and on the inside corner. Boston's captain quickly turned on it and sent it on a line just over the left-field scoreboard for his second home run in 42 games. It was his first home run in 27 career at-bats against Washburn.

"One mistake can hurt you -- and that's what happened today," Washburn said, calling Varitek "one of the smartest guys in the game."

The first man to greet Varitek at the top of the dugout was Francona. The manager gave him a high-five and a pat on the shoulder.

"I had a good first two months, then a horrendous month and a half. I mean, some of the toughest time of my career," Varitek said. "It's there -- I've already shown it's there. I've just got to keep stringing it together."

Washburn allowed seven hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings -- the seventh time in eight starts he had allowed two earned runs or fewer. He has only two victories in that span.


Varitek has 153 home runs as a catcher, four behind Carlton Fisk for most in Boston history. ... Ortiz, out since injuring his wrist May 30, singled twice, walked, and flied out Monday for Double-A Portland. He's still on track to return Friday.

Copyright 2015 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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Players of the Game

J. Varitek
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

J. Lester
IP 7.1
H 8
ER 0
BB 0
K 6

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Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, LF4010003 .262
Dustin Pedroia, 2B5010006 .320
J.D. Drew, RF4000111 .290
Manny Ramirez, DH5030002 .301
    Brandon Moss, PR-DH0000000 .295
Mike Lowell, 3B5000013 .282
Kevin Youkilis, 1B3110110 .314
Coco Crisp, CF2210310 .255
Jason Varitek, C4122116 .218
Jed Lowrie, SS3022101 .298
HR - Jason Varitek (8, Washburn)
SH - Jacoby Ellsbury (3)
RBI - Jason Varitek 2 (30), Jed Lowrie 2 (9)
Team LOB - 13
DP - Lowrie-Pedroia-Youkilis, Lowrie-Pedroia-Youkilis
Boston Red Sox
Jon Lester (W,8-3) 7.1800060 3.20
Jonathan Papelbon (S,29) 1.2000000 2.34
Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lester 103-75, Jonathan Papelbon 13-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lester 7-8, Jonathan Papelbon 3-1
Batters Faced - Jon Lester 29, Jonathan Papelbon 4
Seattle Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki, RF4000013 .301
Willie Bloomquist, CF4010011 .273
Raul Ibanez, LF4010011 .278
Adrian Beltre, 3B4020001 .264
Jose Lopez, 2B4010002 .297
Miguel Cairo, DH3000013 .225
   a- Jeremy Reed, PH-DH1000000 .256
Bryan LaHair, 1B2000011 .000
   b- Jose Vidro, PH-1B1000002 .222
Jeff Clement, C3010010 .172
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS3020000 .265
a-lined out for Cairo in the 9th
b-flied out for LaHair in the 7th
2B - Yuniesky Betancourt (23, Lester)
Team LOB - 6
DP - J. Lopez-LaHair-Betancourt, Washburn-J. Lopez-LaHair
Seattle Mariners
Jarrod Washburn (L,4-9) 5.2722231 4.75
Mark Lowe 1.2122310 4.17
Cesar Jimenez 0.2100100 0.84
Miguel Batista 1200110 6.89
HBP - Youkilis (by Mark Lowe)
Pitches-Strikes - Jarrod Washburn 113-63, Mark Lowe 40-20, Cesar Jimenez 14-6, Miguel Batista 16-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jarrod Washburn 3-9, Mark Lowe 3-1, Cesar Jimenez 1-1
Batters Faced - Jarrod Washburn 24, Mark Lowe 10, Cesar Jimenez 4, Miguel Batista 6
Game Information
Attendance - 37861
Game Time - 2:57
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Bill Hohn, First Base - Dale Scott, Second Base - Ron Kulpa, Third Base - Dan Iassogna