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Boston at Chicago

Scoreboard
Boston (79-57) «0002100036100
Chi. White Sox (68-70)000000010160

Lester throws seven shutout innings as BoSox beat ChiSox

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- If Jon Lester's strikeout milestone was "pretty cool," his seven shutout innings for the Boston Red Sox were pretty important.

Lester allowed four hits and Boston, boosted by home runs from Mike Lowell and Victor Martinez, beat the Chicago White Sox 6-1 Sunday.

Lester fanned eight and became just the 10th different Boston pitcher to reach the 200-strikeout plateau.

"Strikeouts are nice. A cool stat," Lester said. "That's not something I'm trying to do. It's something I'll look back on after my career and realize it's pretty cool."

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After losing Friday and Saturday to the White Sox, Boston increased its AL wild-card lead to three games over Texas, which lost to Baltimore 7-0.

"Even when Lester fell behind he was able to come back and throw strikes. Seven strong innings," Lowell said. "He's been solid for us all year. This was a big start, especially after the way the first two games went."

Lester (12-7) has struck out 204 this season. It marked the 24th time overall a Red Sox pitcher has reached 200 strikeouts. Daisuke Matsuzaka did it two years two years ago.

"He's just got great stuff," Chicago's Paul Konerko said. "Throws hard, good cutter, curve when he needs it, he threw me a couple of changeups. Just mixed it up and pitched really well and didn't really have a pattern it seemed like."

Chicago had won four in a row. The loss dropped the White Sox eight games behind AL Central leader Detroit with only 24 games left.

"The way Detroit is playing right now, they are on a roll and we're not," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "It's not impossible, but every day will be tougher, even if you win or you lose."

Lowell hit his 17th homer, a high fly into the White Sox bullpen in the fourth, after Jason Bay started the inning with a single off John Danks (12-9).

Boston added a run for a 3-0 lead in the fifth. Jacoby Ellsbury beat out an infield single and moved up on sacrifice and, after Kevin Youkilis was hit by a pitch, Bay delivered a RBI single with two outs.

Ramon Castro homered leading off the White Sox eighth against reliever Billy Wagner.

But Martinez hit a three-run shot off Octavio Dotel in the ninth, his 21st homer of the season and sixth since joining the Red Sox on July 31.

The White Sox put runners on in three of the first four innings but could not break through against the hard-throwing Lester. Lester threw 122 pitches, has won his last four decisions and hasn't lost since July 19.

"I got myself in some trouble, but made some pitches when I had do. I got some outs when I got myself in jams," he said.

Danks lost his bid for a career-high 13th win and pitched in and out of trouble most of the day in the matchup of tough left-handers. In six innings, he gave up seven hits and three runs.

"You know going up against a guy like that you got to be almost flawless," Danks said of Lester. "He's a guy who every night will give you a chance to win. He's going to hold a team to a run or two. ... I got outpitched."

Chicago's first two batters reached in the first. But with his back to the infield, Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia raced into shallow right to make an over-the-shoulder catch of Konerko's fly. He then turned and threw to second to double off Scott Podsednik.

"Pedroia didn't get any hits, but he probably saved the game in the first inning," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "At best we're looking at bases loaded and nobody out because I think everybody in the ballpark thought the ball is falling."

Notes

  • Ellsbury had three singles and a walk.
  • Chicago rookie Gordon Beckham, who hurt his side Saturday with a batting practice swing, was out of the lineup after starting 65 straight games at third base. Beckham, who left after a half-inning Saturday, is expected to also miss Monday's series finale.
  • Chicago's Alex Rios struck out three times. Rios, claimed off waivers from Toronto last month, is in a 4-for-46 rut over his last 12 games.
 
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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Red Sox lefty Jon Lester wins his fourth straight decision and hasn't lost since July 19.  (AP)
Red Sox lefty Jon Lester wins his fourth straight decision and hasn't lost since July 19. (AP)

Players of the Game
Boston

V. Martinez
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
Boston

J. Lester
IP 7.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 2
K 8
 
Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF4230100 .298
Dustin Pedroia, 2B4000004 .292
Victor Martinez, C4123112 .294
Kevin Youkilis, 1B-3B4000013 .310
Jason Bay, LF4121012 .261
David Ortiz, DH4000013 .222
Mike Lowell, 3B4112000 .296
    Casey Kotchman, 1B0000000 .272
J.D. Drew, RF4010010 .266
Alex Gonzalez, SS4110021 .226
Totals36610627  
Batting
2B - J.D. Drew (27, Danks), Alex Gonzalez (17, Dotel)
HR - Victor Martinez (21, Dotel), Mike Lowell (17, Danks)
SH - Dustin Pedroia (3)
RBI - Victor Martinez 3 (91), Jason Bay (98), Mike Lowell 2 (69)
2-OUT RBI - Victor Martinez 3 (34), Jason Bay (39)
SB - Jacoby Ellsbury (59, 2nd base off Williams/Castro)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Pedroia-A. Gonzalez
Boston Red Sox
Jon Lester (W,12-7) 7400280 3.44
Billy Wagner (H,2) 0.2111001 1.59
Daniel Bard (H,9) 0.1000010 3.38
Jonathan Papelbon 1100000 1.81
Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lester 122-75, Billy Wagner 13-6, Daniel Bard 3-3, Jonathan Papelbon 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lester 5-7, Billy Wagner 1-1, Jonathan Papelbon 1-2
Batters Faced - Jon Lester 26, Billy Wagner 3, Daniel Bard 1, Jonathan Papelbon 4
Chicago White Sox
Scott Podsednik, DH4030000 .300
Jayson Nix, 3B3000112 .227
Paul Konerko, 1B4000021 .282
Jermaine Dye, RF4010002 .260
Carlos Quentin, LF4000001 .231
Alexei Ramirez, SS3010111 .280
Chris Getz, 2B4000012 .275
Alex Rios, CF3000031 .249
Ramon Castro, C3111010 .229
Totals3216129  
Batting
2B - Jermaine Dye (18, Lester)
HR - Ramon Castro (7, Wagner)
RBI - Ramon Castro (24)
Team LOB - 6
Chicago White Sox
John Danks (L,12-9) 6733141 3.84
Randy Williams 0.2100010 6.94
Tony Pena 1.1000010 4.26
Octavio Dotel 1233111 3.74
HBP - Youkilis (by John Danks)
Pitches-Strikes - John Danks 107-71, Randy Williams 15-11, Tony Pena 16-9, Octavio Dotel 22-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Danks 8-6, Tony Pena 2-1, Octavio Dotel 1-1
Batters Faced - John Danks 27, Randy Williams 3, Tony Pena 4, Octavio Dotel 6
Game Information
Attendance - 32134
Game Time - 3:02
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Gary Darling, First Base - Mark Carlson, Second Base - Bruce Dreckman, Third Base - Paul Emmel