--LHP Jon Lester outdueled Angels RHP Dan Haren on Tuesday night in a matchup of ace-caliber pitchers. Lester allowed a solo homer to Mark Trumbo in the second inning, then blanked the Angels for the next five innings and allowed the Red Sox to come back against Haren. Lester bent, serving up leadoff hits in three of the first four innings, but never broke, holding the Angels without a hit in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position. He recorded a season-high 11 strikeouts and grinded through seven innings. "It's fun to have those battles every once in a while, to see who's going to make the first mistake," Lester said of facing another elite-level pitcher. "I did early. Just had to hang around as best we could, keep them within striking distance."
--CF Jacoby Ellsbury was able to play Tuesday night after bruising his left knee one night earlier. He had a big impact on the game, too. He extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a sixth-inning double inside the first base bag that jump-started the Red Sox's rally against Haren. During the streak, Ellsbury is batting .373 (19-for-51) with 12 runs and, most pleasing to manager Terry Francona, a .418 on-base percentage. Last month, Ellsbury was removed from the leadoff spot for a 12-game stretch because he hadn't been reaching base often enough to satisfy Francona. "I don't know about the approach (changing)," Francona said of his ever-aggressive leadoff man. "I just think you're seeing him hit balls that maybe he didn't hit earlier in the season. Because of that, he's not afraid to hit deeper in the count, so he's probably a better hitter."
--LF Carl Crawford notched his 1,500th career hit with a single in the third inning Tuesday night. He's the fourth player in the modern era to collect 1,500 hits and 400 stolen bases before turning 30. The others: Cesar Cedeno, Ty Cobb and Eddie Collins. More important, at least to the Red Sox, was that Crawford notched his third consecutive three-hit game after batting only .155 in April. He's batting .324 over his last nine games.
--2B Dustin Pedroia went hitless Tuesday night, but he still managed to make a key play in the game. Pedroia gloved a line drive by Erick Aybar, then threw to first to double off Vernon Wells in the fourth inning when the Red Sox were trailing 1-0. "That was a great job," LHP Jon Lester said. "That takes a lot of pressure off me." Added manager Terry Francona, "That's a great play. Even when Pedey doesn't get hits, it seems like we end up talking about him every night." The Red Sox were still buzzing over Pedroia's game-changing, 13-pitch at-bat Monday night against Angels ace Jered Weaver.
--3B Kevin Youkilis was scratched from the Red Sox's lineup less than 30 minutes before the game when he reported feeling sick and lightheaded, according to manager Terry Francona. The Red Sox have been felled by a virus that has made its way through the clubhouse. RHP Clay Buchholz had to have a start pushed back after getting a stomach virus last weekend, and Francona said DH David Ortiz nearly had to be scratched from the lineup Monday night. In Youkilis' absence, INF Jed Lowrie moved to third base, while SS Marco Scutaro was added to the lineup and belted a homer in the eighth inning.
BY THE NUMBERS
10 -- Times instant replay has been used at Fenway Park, including the eighth inning Tuesday night on a home run by Marco Scutaro. On four of those occasions, the initial call has been upheld, including Scutaro's homer.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"Any concern? I mean, I knew I'd hit one more before the season ended." -- 1B Adrian Gonzalez, on breaking a 96-at-bat homerless drought Tuesday night.
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