Baltimore at Boston

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Baltimore (6-6)000000001160
Boston (6-6) «01001000x260

Lester beats O's for Red Sox's fourth consecutive victory

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- Jon Lester regained the form that made him Boston's best starter late last season.

Lester pitched seven shutout innings to return to his winning ways in Fenway Park, leading the Red Sox to a 2-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

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"That was the guy that I remember from last year," said left fielder Jason Bay, who came over to the Red Sox in a trade deadline deal last season.

Lester (1-2), who had allowed 11 runs in 12 innings in his first two starts of the season, held the Orioles to four singles while striking out nine and walking two. He lost his first start of the year in Fenway against Tampa Bay on April 8, snapping a 16-game, regular-season unbeaten streak at home.

Lester, who went 16-6 in 2008, was Boston's most dependable postseason starter last year. He went 1-0 in the division series, throwing 14 shutout innings against Los Angeles. In Game 7 of the ALCS against Tampa Bay, Lester was outpitched by Matt Garza in a 3-1 loss.

"We really didn't think there was anything wrong for me to fret on," Lester said of his first two starts.

It was the fourth consecutive victory for the Red Sox, who can complete a sweep of the four-game series on Monday morning in the annual Patriots' Day game.

Dustin Pedroia and Mike Lowell had RBI singles for Boston.

"That was just enough," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "The ballpark was playing big today."

With cool temperatures and a fairly strong wind blowing in, it was the right setting for Lester.

"From the first pitch of the game, he had power behind his pitches," Francona said. "He elevated his fastball early."

Koji Uehara (2-1) yielded two runs and five hits in seven innings for the Orioles, who lost their fourth in a row.

"The fastball was working," Uehara said through a translator. "Maybe the radar gun doesn't show it, but the high fastball, I was able to get a lot of flyouts."

Ramon Ramirez pitched a perfect eighth and Takashi Saito allowed a run before finishing for his first save with the Red Sox. Saito retired the final two hitters with Aubrey Huff on second, striking out pinch-hitter Gregg Zaun to end the game.

The Red Sox won for the 26th time in their last 32 home games against Baltimore.

"Koji pitched a great game and so did Lester," Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said. "[Lester's] velocity was better from the last time he had pitched."

Uehara's third career start was his best so far, but the right-hander didn't get the run support he received in his first two outings. In each of his first two games, the Orioles scored seven runs before he was replaced.

Bay said the Red Sox hitters were surprised by Uehara.

"He was spotting his fastball and wasn't overpowering guys with his velocity, but he was sneaky," Bay said.

Ty Wigginton drove in Baltimore's only run with a groundout in the ninth.

Bay went 0-for-3 and failed to reach base safely for the first time this season, halting a streak of 24 games dating to last season.

The Red Sox grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second on Lowell's RBI single, a soft fly that dropped in front of charging right fielder Nick Markakis after Kevin Youkilis led off with a double.

Pedroia singled in Nick Green with two outs in the fifth.

Notes

  • Francona elected to avoid using Jonathan Papelbon after he closed the past two games.
  • Baltimore CF Adam Jones left in the second due to a sore right hamstring. Felix Pie replaced him and made a spinning catch of Green's deep drive in the third.
  • Lester is 7-0 lifetime against Baltimore.
  • Former Red Sox reliever Mike Timlin threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Also, as part of Kids' Opening Weekend, Sesame Street's Elmo threw out a first pitch.
 
Copyright 2014 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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Jon Lester yields four hits and strikes out nine over seven scoreless innings.  (AP)
Jon Lester yields four hits and strikes out nine over seven scoreless innings. (AP)

Players of the Game
Boston

J. Lester
IP 7.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 2
K 9
Baltimore

K. Uehara
IP 7.0
H 5
ER 2
BB 1
K 5
 

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Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B2000210 .417
Adam Jones, CF1000000 .372
    Felix Pie, CF3000014 .161
Nick Markakis, RF4110022 .348
Aubrey Huff, 1B4010022 .277
Ty Wigginton, 3B4021000 .270
Luke Scott, DH4000012 .262
Ryan Freel, LF3000011 .071
   a- Gregg Zaun, PH1000011 .129
Chad Moeller, C3000011 .286
Robert Andino, SS3020000 .444
Totals32161210  
a-struck out for Freel in the 9th
Batting
RBI - Ty Wigginton (3)
CS - Ty Wigginton (1, 2nd base by Lester/Kottaras)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Andino-B. Roberts-Huff
Baltimore Orioles
Koji Uehara (L,2-1) 7522150 5.29
George Sherrill 1100000 5.06
Pitches-Strikes - Koji Uehara 105-74, George Sherrill 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Koji Uehara 3-13, George Sherrill 1-1
Batters Faced - Koji Uehara 27, George Sherrill 3
Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF4020001 .240
Dustin Pedroia, 2B4011002 .235
David Ortiz, DH4000022 .170
Kevin Youkilis, 1B2110100 .468
J.D. Drew, RF3000012 .256
Jason Bay, LF3000012 .289
Mike Lowell, 3B3011001 .267
George Kottaras, C3000011 .222
Nick Green, SS3110000 .286
Totals2926215  
Batting
2B - Jacoby Ellsbury (1, Uehara), Kevin Youkilis (6, Uehara), Nick Green (2, Uehara)
RBI - Dustin Pedroia (2), Mike Lowell (11)
2-OUT RBI - Dustin Pedroia (1), Mike Lowell (9)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
PB - George Kottaras (1)
Boston Red Sox
Jon Lester (W,1-2) 7400290 5.50
Ramon Ramirez (H,2) 1000000 0.00
Takashi Saito (S,1) 1211010 6.23
WP - Jon Lester (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lester 108-67, Ramon Ramirez 15-8, Takashi Saito 23-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lester 7-4, Takashi Saito 1-1
Batters Faced - Jon Lester 26, Ramon Ramirez 3, Takashi Saito 5
Game Information
Attendance - 37869
Game Time - 2:31
Temperature - 49
Umpires - Home - Hunter Wendelstedt, First Base - Dana DeMuth, Second Base - Kerwin Danley, Third Base - Doug Eddings