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Boston at Anaheim

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Boston (8-11) «001201000450
L.A. Angels (12-8)000000120392

Red Sox overcome shaky bullpen to beat Angels

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The way Jon Lester started out, it looked as though he would get deep into the game.

He only lasted six innings because of a high pitch count, and had to sweat it out before Jonathan Papelbon saved another one for him.

Lester scattered four hits without allowing a run, and the Boston Red Sox overcame some shaky relief by Matt Albers and Bobby Jenks to beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-3 on Friday night. The Red Sox improved to 8-5 following a season-opening six-game losing streak, making manager Terry Francona's 52nd birthday a happy one.

"I had good fastball command early, but it got away from me a little bit," said Lester, who struck out his first four batters. "I nit picked a little bit and got into some deep counts, and there were a lot of foul balls. I just didn't get that early contact that I needed. So unfortunately, I wasn't able to go real deep in the game and I just had to grind it out."

Lester (2-1) struck out eight, walked two and departed with a 4-0 lead after throwing 111 pitches. Boston's starters have allowed no more than two earned runs in any of the last seven games, with a 1.19 ERA during that stretch.

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"I remember back about the middle of that homestand, somebody asked me: 'What's the best way to get it going?"' Francona said. "And I said, 'A time or two through the rotation and have them give us a chance every night.' And that's exactly what's happened."

Dan Haren (4-1) allowed four runs, two earned, in six innings. The right-hander struck out six and walked three en route to his first loss in 13 starts since Aug. 20 at Minnesota.

"I don't want to lose, obviously, but the chances were that I wasn't going to go 34-0. So it was probably going to happen at some point," Haren said. "It was kind of a weird game. A couple of balls found holes, so it's not like it was flying everywhere."

Albers, activated from the 15-day disabled list Thursday after missing 11 games with a strained muscle in his back, made his first appearance since April 5 for the Red Sox and gave up an RBI single to Jeff Mathis in the seventh.

Jenks surrendered an RBI single in the eighth to Bobby Abreu that ended an 0-for-15 drought. Abreu got to second on a wild pitch and came all the way home on a passed ball by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but Papelbon pitched a scoreless ninth for his fifth save in as many attempts.

"As far as consistency, I think Mariano Rivera's No. 1 on that list, but Pap has shown over the years that he's going to be every bit as good as him," Angels left fielder Vernon Wells said. "When he comes into the game, you know you've got your work cut out for you."

Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis, 3 for 16 lifetime against Haren, got the night after fouling a pitch off his left shin in the first inning of Thursday night's series opener. Francona said Youkilis would be back in the lineup Saturday night to face Ervin Santana.

Saltalamacchia doubled with one out in the third, as nine-time Gold Glove winner Torii Hunter had trouble making the catch against the wall in right-center. Saltalamacchia advanced to third after Hunter caught Marco Scutaro's flyball near the right-field line, and Jacoby Ellsbury drove in the game's first run with a double.

Manager Mike Scioscia went to the mound and got into a very animated conversation with Haren before the three-time All-Star struck out Pedroia to end the inning.

"Mike was a little frustrated, as everyone was," Haren said. "We thought some calls weren't going our way, so we kind of talked it out and he made sure I stayed focused."

The Red Sox capitalized on a tough error charged to center fielder Peter Bourjos to score a pair of unearned runs and increase their lead to 3-0. After a two-out walk to Jed Lowrie and a double by J.D. Drew, slumping Carl Crawford followed with a lazy flyball to short right-center. Bourjos, Hunter and second baseman Howie Kendrick all converged on it, but no one took charge, and Buorjos made a last-second lunge at it before the ball hit off his glove.

Drew delivered Boston's fourth run with an RBI single in the sixth. The Angels have lost 11 of the last 12 meetings since sweeping Boston in the 2009 AL division series.

Notes

  • Haren had allowed only one unearned run over his previous 22 starts since June 28, 2010, when he pitched for Arizona.
  • Lester has not allowed a home run in 26 innings over his last four starts, after giving up three in Boston's season opener at Texas.
  • Lester increased his career strikeouts total to 742, and needs two more to overtake LHP Lefty Grove for 15th place on the franchise list. The only lefties in Red Sox history with more strikeouts than Grove and Lester are Bruce Hurst (1,043) and Dutch Leonard (771).
  • This was the second straight start in which Lester had a 1-2-3 inning with three strikeouts, after not doing so in 15 straight outings since July 24, 2010.
  • DH David Ortiz batted cleanup for the first time this season and was 0 for 4.
  • The Red Sox are 5-4 on Francona's birthday since he took the job, including a doubleheader sweep in 2009.
 
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 pitches six scoreless innings and his bullpen holds up to give him his second win as the Red Sox top the Angels. (AP)
Jon Lester pitches six scoreless innings and his bullpen holds up to give him his second win as the Red Sox top the Angels. (AP)

Players of the Game
Boston

J. Lester
IP 6.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 2
K 8
Boston

J. Drew
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Boston Red Sox
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF4011120 .190
Dustin Pedroia, 2B4000123 .314
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B5000012 .267
David Ortiz, DH4000003 .254
Jed Lowrie, 3B3210110 .426
J.D. Drew, RF3121110 .280
Carl Crawford, LF4000012 .135
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C3110102 .205
Marco Scutaro, SS3000104 .182
Totals3345268  
Batting
2B - Jacoby Ellsbury (2, Haren), Jed Lowrie (3, Haren), J.D. Drew (2, Haren), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2, Haren)
RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury (12), J.D. Drew (5)
2-OUT RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury (3)
SB - Carl Crawford (4, 2nd base off Haren/Mathis)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Pedroia-Gonzalez
PB - Jarrod Saltalamacchia (3)
Boston Red Sox
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jon Lester (W,2-1) 6400280 2.59
Matt Albers 1211000 3.00
Bobby Jenks (H,2) 1221100 7.36
Jonathan Papelbon (S,5) 1100010 2.16
WP - Jon Lester (1), Bobby Jenks (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lester 111-71, Matt Albers 20-13, Bobby Jenks 26-14, Jonathan Papelbon 12-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lester 5-4, Matt Albers 2-1, Bobby Jenks 1-2
Batters Faced - Jon Lester 23, Matt Albers 5, Bobby Jenks 6, Jonathan Papelbon 4
Los Angeles Angels
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Peter Bourjos, CF5010023 .286
Howard Kendrick, 2B4110122 .277
Bobby Abreu, DH4111012 .246
Torii Hunter, RF4010011 .212
Vernon Wells, LF4010012 .183
Alberto Callaspo, 3B2000201 .303
    Reggie Willits, PR0000000 .000
    Bobby Wilson, 1B0000000 .125
Mark Trumbo, 1B3000012 .247
   a- Maicer Izturis, PH-3B1000001 .355
Erick Aybar, SS4120000 .375
Jeff Mathis, C3011011 .211
   b- Hank Conger, PH1010000 .310
Totals3539239  
a-grounded out for Trumbo in the 8th
b-singled for Mathis in the 9th
Batting
2B - Peter Bourjos (5, Lester), Howard Kendrick (4, Jenks)
RBI - Bobby Abreu (6), Jeff Mathis (5)
2-OUT RBI - Jeff Mathis (3)
SB - Peter Bourjos (2, 3rd base off Lester/Saltalamacchia), Howard Kendrick (1, 2nd base off Lester/Saltalamacchia), Erick Aybar (2, 2nd base off Albers/Saltalamacchia)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
PB - Jeff Mathis (2)
E - Peter Bourjos (1, Dropped fly), Vernon Wells (2, Misplayed grounder)
Los Angeles Angels
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Dan Haren (L,4-1) 6542360 1.46
Francisco Rodriguez 1000110 3.38
Trevor Bell 2000210 0.00
IBB - Saltalamacchia by Trevor Bell
WP - Trevor Bell (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Dan Haren 109-71, Francisco Rodriguez 18-9, Trevor Bell 30-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dan Haren 5-8, Francisco Rodriguez 1-1, Trevor Bell 3-2
Batters Faced - Dan Haren 27, Francisco Rodriguez 4, Trevor Bell 8
Game Information
Attendance - 39005
Game Time - 3:16
Temperature - 63
Umpires - Home - Larry Vanover, First Base - Tony Randazzo, Second Base - Dan Bellino, Third Base - Brian Gorman