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Lester wins sixth straight decision as Red Sox cruise

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BALTIMORE -- Jon Lester is so accustomed to dominating the Baltimore Orioles, he couldn't derive much satisfaction out of beating them with a rather ordinary performance.

Lester pitched into the seventh inning to win his sixth straight decision, and the Boston Red Sox feasted on the Orioles bullpen in an 11-5 victory Saturday night.

Josh Reddick, J.D. Drew and Brian Anderson homered for the Red Sox, whose magic number to clinch the AL wild card dipped below double figures. Any number of Boston victories or Texas defeats totaling nine will put the Red Sox in the playoffs.

 Playoff Race

Lester (14-7) improved to 6-0 in 11 starts since July 19 despite giving up three runs and 10 hits -- at least one every inning. He is 10-0 lifetime against Baltimore, including 4-0 with a 1.65 ERA this season.

"I didn't think he had his best stuff," Boston manager Terry Francona said, "but on a night when he didn't, he pitched pretty good."

"Pretty good" aren't words usually used to describe Lester, especially when he's going up against the Orioles.

"It wasn't necessarily the seven innings or the three runs, it was the 10 hits. And I was behind quite a bit. You can't do that," the left-hander said. "We won. You got to look at it that way. I wasn't at my best, but I kept my team in the ball game and they were able to score runs late."

Lester and David Hernandez dueled for six innings before Boston broke it open with a three-run seventh. Dustin Pedroia singled off Matt Albers (2-6), stole second and scored on a single by Kevin Youkilis for a 4-3 lead. David Ortiz greeted Alberto Castillo with a double, and Drew and Mike Lowell followed with RBI singles.

The Red Sox added five unearned runs in the eighth against Bob McCrory. After first baseman Ty Wigginton let a grounder zip through his legs, Ortiz hit a sacrifice fly, Drew homered with two on and Anderson followed with a solo shot.

Hernandez gave up seven hits, three walks and a homer in six innings.

"We were encouraged by how Hernandez threw tonight. That was his best outing in a while," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "The game got out of hand after he left."

Boston has won seven straight over the Orioles and is 15-2 against Baltimore this season. The Red Sox also clinched their 11th straight series win over the AL East-cellar dwellers.

Wigginton hit two solo homers, and Melvin Mora and Felix Pie also connected for Baltimore. Wigginton and Pie hit successive drives in the ninth off Manny Delcarmen.

After watching the Orioles score only one run in their previous two games, Trembley shuffled the lineup, moving rookie Matt Wieters to the No. 3 spot for the first time and shifting Brian Roberts back to the top of the order. The move worked: Roberts hit his league-leading 53rd double and scored a run, and Wieters had three hits and an RBI.

The first three batters to face Lester all got hits -- a double by Roberts, a single by Cesar Izturis and an RBI single by Wieters. The uprising ended when Mora bounced into a double play.

"It's a possible big inning when you let that happen," Lester said, "so you try to minimize the damage and not let the game get out of reach."

Reddick, starting in place of an ailing Jason Bay, homered in the second after a double by Drew. Bay was scratched from the lineup after experiencing flulike symptoms.

Wigginton led off the bottom half with his first homer since Aug. 2, and Mora gave the Orioles a 3-2 lead in the fourth with his eighth home run.

Boston pulled even in the sixth when Ortiz doubled and scored on a single by Lowell.

Notes

  • Boston's Victor Martinez extended his hitting streak to a career-high 18 games. Pedroia has hit in 11 straight.
  • Hernandez has given up 20 homers in his last 10 starts.
  • Red Sox starters have allowed three runs or fewer in 12 straight games.
  • Lester surrendered two homers after yielding only four in his previous 15 starts.
 
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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Jon Lester improves his career record against the O's to 10-0 and is 6-0 overall since July 19.  (AP)
Jon Lester improves his career record against the O's to 10-0 and is 6-0 overall since July 19. (AP)

Players of the Game
Baltimore

T. Wigginton
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 2
Boston

J. Drew
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 4
 

Related Video

Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF5010104 .301
Dustin Pedroia, 2B6220004 .295
Victor Martinez, C5110001 .297
   a- George Kottaras, PH-C1000012 .227
Kevin Youkilis, 1B-3B5211113 .309
David Ortiz, DH4221000 .233
J.D. Drew, RF5234001 .269
    Jed Lowrie, SS0000000 .158
Mike Lowell, 3B4032001 .296
    Brian Anderson, PR-LF^RF1111000 .237
Josh Reddick, LF2112101 .238
   b- Rocco Baldelli, PH0000000 .255
   c- Casey Kotchman, PH-1B2000000 .273
Alex Gonzalez, SS3010114 .234
    Joey Gathright, LF1010000 .278
Totals4411171143  
a-struck out for Martinez in the 9th
b-announced for Reddick in the 7th
c-grounded out for Baldelli in the 7th
Batting
2B - David Ortiz 2 (32, Hernandez, Castillo), J.D. Drew (28, Hernandez)
HR - J.D. Drew (21, McCrory), Brian Anderson (3, McCrory), Josh Reddick (2, Hernandez)
SF - David Ortiz (7)
RBI - Kevin Youkilis (86), David Ortiz (84), J.D. Drew 4 (63), Mike Lowell 2 (72), Brian Anderson (15), Josh Reddick 2 (4)
2-OUT RBI - J.D. Drew 3 (29), Brian Anderson (7), Josh Reddick 2 (2)
SB - Dustin Pedroia (18, 2nd base off Albers/Moeller)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - A. Gonzalez-Pedroia-Youkilis, A. Gonzalez-Pedroia-Kotchman, Pedroia-Lowrie-Kotchman
Boston Red Sox
Jon Lester (W,14-7) 61033042 3.33
Billy Wagner (H,4) 1000000 1.74
Takashi Saito 1000010 2.49
Manny Delcarmen0222202 3.74
Ramon Ramirez 1000100 2.74
Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lester 102-62, Billy Wagner 14-9, Takashi Saito 12-8, Manny Delcarmen 21-10, Ramon Ramirez 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lester 10-3, Billy Wagner 1-1, Takashi Saito 2-0, Ramon Ramirez 1-1
Batters Faced - Jon Lester 27, Billy Wagner 2, Takashi Saito 3, Manny Delcarmen 4, Ramon Ramirez 3
Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B4110001 .286
    Michael Aubrey, 1B1000002 .306
Cesar Izturis, SS4010111 .254
Matt Wieters, DH5031011 .276
Nick Markakis, RF3000013 .295
   a- Robert Andino, PH-LF1000000 .227
Melvin Mora, 3B3111001 .262
   b- Justin Turner, PH-3B1000000 .286
Ty Wigginton, 1B-2B4222000 .268
Felix Pie, CF4131000 .263
Chad Moeller, C3000012 .256
    Guillermo Rodriguez, C0000100 .000
Jeff Fiorentino, LF-RF3010111 .281
Totals36512535  
a-grounded out for Markakis in the 8th
b-grounded out for Mora in the 8th
Batting
2B - Brian Roberts (53, Lester), Felix Pie (9, Lester)
HR - Melvin Mora (8, Lester), Ty Wigginton 2 (10, Lester, Delcarmen), Felix Pie (9, Delcarmen)
RBI - Matt Wieters (36), Melvin Mora (43), Ty Wigginton 2 (36), Felix Pie (26)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Ty Wigginton (7, Misplayed grounder)
Baltimore Orioles
David Hernandez 6733311 5.34
Matt Albers (L,2-6) 0.1222000 5.43
Alberto Castillo0311000 3.38
Cla Meredith 0.2000010 4.13
Bob McCrory 0.2350102 13.50
Dennis Sarfate 0.1000000 6.35
Chris Lambert 1200010 13.00
Pitches-Strikes - David Hernandez 93-57, Matt Albers 21-12, Alberto Castillo 10-8, Cla Meredith 8-5, Bob McCrory 26-15, Dennis Sarfate 5-3, Chris Lambert 16-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - David Hernandez 4-13, Matt Albers 1-0, Cla Meredith 1-0, Bob McCrory 2-1, Dennis Sarfate 1-0, Chris Lambert 1-1
Batters Faced - David Hernandez 28, Matt Albers 3, Alberto Castillo 3, Cla Meredith 2, Bob McCrory 7, Dennis Sarfate 1, Chris Lambert 5
Game Information
Attendance - 39285
Game Time - 3:28
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Dana DeMuth, First Base - Doug Eddings, Second Base - Brian Knight, Third Base - Hunter Wendelstedt