|Boston (11-13) «||1||0||1||0||0||0||1||3||0||6||13||0|
The left-hander is just happy he could end a two-game Boston slide, help the Red Sox finish a road swing on an upbeat note and get his team out of last place in the AL East.
Lester improved to 14-0 all-time against Baltimore with eight dominating innings, Dustin Pedroia hit a tiebreaking infield single and the Red Sox averted a sweep with a 6-2 victory over the Orioles on Thursday night.
|More on Red Sox at Orioles|
"If I knew the answer to that, I'd do well against everybody," Lester said, shaking his head. "I just pitch well against this team. ... I just really don't know. I'm aware of the track record I have against them, but I don't know how to explain it. I feel comfortable against them. I really like pitching here at this park, I've always felt good here."
Lester (3-1) is unbeaten in 17 career starts versus the Orioles and boasts the longest active winning streak by any pitcher against one team. He yielded two runs on four hits, walked three and struck out five.
"He threw his changeup about as good as he's ever thrown," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "Some of those hitters, he really slowed them down. He was really good and he needed to be to give us enough time. He gave us a chance."
It was 2-all when Carl Crawford doubled off Jim Johnson (1-1) to the start the seventh. Crawford held second when Marco Scutaro couldn't execute a sacrifice bunt, took third on Jacoby Ellsbury's grounder and scored when third baseman Mark Reynolds bobbled Pedroia's slow roller.
Baltimore fell into last place in the AL East, a half-game behind the Red Sox, who finished 6-3 on a nine-game road trip.
"It's great to finish up this road trip the way we did," Lester said. "The guys are starting to feel a little bit better about themselves now, and hopefully we can go home and really start playing well. To go 6-3 on this road trip, well take it, the way we started off the season."
Boston's Adrian Gonzalez had three hits and two RBI.
Ellsbury led off the game with a double and scored on Gonzalez's one-out double for a 1-0 lead.
The Orioles tied it in the bottom half when Brian Roberts drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on Nick Markakis' single, stole third and scored on Lee's single, which ended an 0-for-14 slump with runners in scoring position.
Ellsbury and Gonzalez teamed again to put the Red Sox up 2-1 in the third. Ellsbury singled with one down, moved to second on a groundout and came home on Gonzalez's single.
Guerrero tied it in the sixth with a shot to left off a full-count fastball from Lester, who surrendered a home run for the first time in five starts. It was Guerrero's fourth homer of the season.
Baltimore starter Brad Bergesen went six innings, allowing two runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out five.
"The body of work was pretty good. I thought [Bergesen] gave us a good chance to win against a good-hitting club, and I was proud of him," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Bergesen escaped a jam in the sixth when Gonzalez's double put runners on second and third with no outs. He fanned Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz, issued an intentional walk to J.D. Drew to load the bases and then got Jarrod Saltalamacchia to fly out to the warning track in center.
"I was facing a tough lineup like that and you know Lester, his career against the Orioles -- I knew just every pitch mattered tonight," Bergesen said. "I think the biggest thing for me was the sixth inning, getting in that jam and being able to get out of it."
In the eighth, the Red Sox loaded the bases with none down before Saltalamacchia's RBI single off Mike Gonzalez made it 4-2. Two outs later, Ellsbury looped a two-run single to center.
|Jacoby Ellsbury hits a two-run single against the Baltimore Orioles in the eighth inning of the Red Sox's win. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Boston Red Sox|
|Jacoby Ellsbury, CF||5||2||3||2||0||1||1||.264|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||5||0||2||1||0||1||3||.278|
|Adrian Gonzalez, 1B||5||0||3||2||0||0||1||.306|
|Kevin Youkilis, 3B||2||1||0||0||2||1||3||.208|
|Jed Lowrie, 3B||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.400|
|David Ortiz, DH||5||1||2||0||0||1||3||.282|
|J.D. Drew, RF||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||.274|
|a- Mike Cameron, PH-RF||1||1||0||0||1||0||1||.130|
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C||4||0||1||1||0||1||3||.191|
|Carl Crawford, LF||4||1||1||0||0||1||3||.160|
|Marco Scutaro, SS||4||0||0||0||0||0||4||.189|
|a-walked for Drew in the 8th|
|2B - Jacoby Ellsbury (6, Bergesen), Adrian Gonzalez 2 (10, Bergesen, Bergesen), Carl Crawford (4, Johnson)|
|RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury 2 (14), Dustin Pedroia (8), Adrian Gonzalez 2 (15), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (6)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury 2 (5), Dustin Pedroia (5), Adrian Gonzalez (9)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Scutaro-Pedroia-Gonzalez|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Jon Lester (W,3-1)||8||4||2||2||3||5||1||2.52|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lester 108-64, Jonathan Papelbon 14-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lester 13-5, Jonathan Papelbon 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Jon Lester 30, Jonathan Papelbon 3|
|Brian Roberts, 2B||3||1||0||0||1||0||1||.253|
|Nick Markakis, RF||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.211|
|Derrek Lee, 1B||4||0||1||1||0||2||1||.247|
|Vladimir Guerrero, DH||4||1||1||1||0||2||2||.284|
|Adam Jones, CF||3||0||0||0||1||1||1||.231|
|Matt Wieters, C||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||.250|
|Mark Reynolds, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.171|
|Jake Fox, LF||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.143|
|Robert Andino, SS||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.289|
|2B - Robert Andino (1, Lester)|
|HR - Vladimir Guerrero (4, Lester)|
|RBI - Derrek Lee (3), Vladimir Guerrero (11)|
|2-OUT RBI - Vladimir Guerrero (8)|
|SB - Brian Roberts (2, 3rd base off Lester/Saltalamacchia)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|DP - B. Roberts-Andino-Lee, Reynolds-B. Roberts-Lee|
|Jim Johnson (L,1-1)||1||2||2||2||1||0||0||4.22|
|IBB - Drew by Brad Bergesen|
|Pitches-Strikes - Brad Bergesen 92-60, Jim Johnson 16-11, Mike Gonzalez 25-15, Jason Berken 4-3, Josh Rupe 18-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brad Bergesen 4-8, Jim Johnson 3-0, Jason Berken 1-1, Josh Rupe 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Brad Bergesen 25, Jim Johnson 6, Mike Gonzalez 4, Jason Berken 3, Josh Rupe 4|
|Attendance - 21209|
|Game Time - 2:39|
|Temperature - 78|
|Umpires - Home - Adrian Johnson, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Field Culbreth|