Boston at Philadelphia

W: J. Lester (10-4) L: D. Herndon (0-2)
S: J. Papelbon (15)
HR: BOS - J. Varitek (4),D. Pedroia (7),J. Varitek (5)   PHI - R. Howard (17)

Lester's gem, Varitek's 2 HRs help BoSox avert sweep wire reports

PHILADELPHIA -- Jon Lester helped the Boston Red Sox avoid a sweep by not getting swept up in the hype surrounding his start against the Philadelphia Phillies.

"I was just trying to pitch a normal game," Lester said.

His normal outing would've been a season-best effort for so many pitchers.

Lester tossed two-hit ball over seven shutout innings, Jason Varitek homered twice and the Red Sox managed to win once in the three-game series, beating the Phillies 5-2 on Thursday.

The duel between two of the top lefties in baseball was short-lived.

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Lester had the starter's spotlight to himself after Philadelphia lefty Cole Hamels was hit in the glove hand by Adrian Gonzalez's liner in the fourth inning and soon left. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Hamels sustained a "real good bruise" between his thumb and his palm.

The Phillies said X-rays were negative and Hamels will make his next start. Hamels declined to talk to the media.

Lester (10-4) struck out Raul Ibanez with two runners aboard with his 120th pitch to end a game-tying threat in the seventh.

"It was big to get out of the seventh," Lester said.

This week's matchup was hyped as a potential World Series preview. If it is, don't look for much offense in October: Philadelphia outscored the Red Sox 9-6.

Dustin Pedroia and Varitek hit back-to-back homers in the eighth to make it 5-0.

Ryan Howard hit his 17th homer in the ninth, a two-run shot off Bobby Jenks. Jonathan Papelbon got two outs for his 15th save.

October could belong to the pitchers.

"You can't worry about losing streaks or winning series," Lester said.

With Hamels out, the Red Sox wasted no time scoring against David Herndon (0-2) in the fifth.

Josh Reddick hit his second triple of the season after right fielder Ben Francisco misplayed the ball and it scooted by him to the wall. Drew Sutton followed with an RBI single and Jacoby Ellsbury added a run-scoring single for a 2-0 lead.

In the sixth, Herndon allowed Varitek's opposite-field homer into the first rows of the right-field seats. He added his fifth homer of the season in the eighth.

Herndon allowed five hits and three runs in only two innings.

Lester made the lead stand.

He snapped a personal two-start losing streak and became the first Red Sox lefty to record four straight double-digit win seasons since Bruce Hurst from 1983-88.

"He was pretty powerful today," Varitek said. "He held on and kept us in the game. He's the story today."

With the Red Sox ahead 3-0 in the seventh, Howard singled and Shane Victorino walked. Lester retired Ben Francisco, then fanned Ibanez swinging on a 90 mph fastball to end the inning.

Ibanez hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh of Philadelphia's 2-1 win on Wednesday.

Daniel Bard pitched a scoreless eighth for the Red Sox.

Hamels, who has a 9-4 record, was cruising until the fourth. He had already snagged a liner an inning earlier when Gonzalez hit a comebacker. The ball appeared to hit Hamels in the palm of his hand. His mitt fell off, but Hamels recovered to throw out Gonzalez at first.

Hamels grimaced as he looked at the sky and shook his hand several times. He threw a few warmup pitches and stayed in the game.

Not for long. Herndon got loose in the bottom half of the inning and came in to start the fifth.

The Phillies already have starters Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton, and relievers Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge among the pitchers on the disabled list.

"We don't need to lose any pitchers," Manuel said. "We definitely need to keep him there, if possible."

The Red Sox shook up their lineup against Hamels in the finale. Gonzalez, who made his second career start in right field on Tuesday, was at first base. David Ortiz appeared as a pinch-hitter a day after he was in the lineup at first.

Also, Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis was out of the lineup with a sore left foot. Youkilis fouled a ball off it in Wednesday night's game. General manager Theo Epstein said Youkilis' X-rays were negative.


  • The Red Sox designated OF Mike Cameron for assignment and recalled INF Yamaico Navarro from Triple-A Pawtucket. Boston has 10 days to trade or release Cameron.
  • Phillies starters ended June with a 1.96 ERA. They are the first rotation since the Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta Braves in 1992 to finish a full month with an ERA under 2.00, STATS LLC said.
  • The Phillies started a stretch of four straight day games.
  • A crowd of 45,810 was the fourth-largest crowd for a regular-season game in Citizens Bank Park's history.
Copyright 2017 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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Jason Varitek's two home runs help power the Red Sox over the Phillies to avoid a series sweep. (Getty Images)
Jason Varitek's two home runs help power the Red Sox over the Phillies to avoid a series sweep. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game

J. Varitek
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2

R. Howard
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1

Related Video

February 24, 2017
2017 AL East Preview: Boston Red Sox (2:46)
Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF5031012 .300
Darnell McDonald, RF3000003 .115
   a- J.D. Drew, PH-RF2010002 .234
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B4000120 .352
Dustin Pedroia, 2B5111003 .272
Jason Varitek, C4222000 .248
Josh Reddick, LF4120000 .444
Drew Sutton, 3B4121011 .310
Marco Scutaro, SS4020000 .277
Jon Lester, P3000034 .000
    Daniel Bard, P0000000 .000
   b- David Ortiz, PH1000000 .305
    Bobby Jenks, P0000000 .000
    Jonathan Papelbon, P0000000 .000
a-lined out for McDonald in the 7th
b-flied out for Bard in the 9th
3B - Josh Reddick (2, Herndon)
HR - Dustin Pedroia (7, Carpenter), Jason Varitek 2 (5, Herndon, Carpenter)
RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury (40), Dustin Pedroia (35), Jason Varitek 2 (17), Drew Sutton (6)
2-OUT RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury (14), Jason Varitek (4)
Team LOB - 8
Boston Red Sox
Jon Lester (W,10-4) 7200250 3.43
Daniel Bard 1000010 2.33
Bobby Jenks 0.1222101 7.24
Jonathan Papelbon (S,15) 0.2000010 3.82
Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lester 120-75, Daniel Bard 8-6, Bobby Jenks 11-7, Jonathan Papelbon 8-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lester 9-7, Daniel Bard 2-0, Jonathan Papelbon 1-0
Batters Faced - Jon Lester 25, Daniel Bard 3, Bobby Jenks 4, Jonathan Papelbon 2
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS4000010 .254
Placido Polanco, 3B4110000 .288
Chase Utley, 2B4010011 .280
Ryan Howard, 1B3122101 .254
Shane Victorino, CF2000202 .289
Ben Francisco, RF4000003 .220
Raul Ibanez, LF4000034 .235
Carlos Ruiz, C3000010 .243
Cole Hamels, P1000010 .222
    David Herndon, P0000000 .000
   a- Michael Martinez, PH1000000 .188
    Drew Carpenter, P0000000 .000
   b- Ross Gload, PH1000000 .314
    Scott Mathieson, P0000000 .000
a-fouled out for Herndon in the 6th
b-grounded out for Carpenter in the 8th
HR - Ryan Howard (17, Jenks)
RBI - Ryan Howard 2 (64)
SB - Chase Utley (5, 2nd base off Lester/Varitek), Shane Victorino (13, 2nd base off Papelbon/Varitek)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Polanco-Utley-Howard
Philadelphia Phillies
Cole Hamels 4200020 2.41
David Herndon (L,0-2) 2533011 4.61
Drew Carpenter 2422042 9.00
Scott Mathieson 1200100 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Cole Hamels 49-35, David Herndon 46-29, Drew Carpenter 39-27, Scott Mathieson 26-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cole Hamels 6-3, David Herndon 5-0
Batters Faced - Cole Hamels 13, David Herndon 11, Drew Carpenter 10, Scott Mathieson 6
Game Information
Attendance - 45810
Game Time - 3:03
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Jim Wolf, First Base - John Tumpane, Second Base - Derryl Cousins, Third Base - Ron Kulpa