Jon Lester came away from his last start “at a loss” after throwing seven innings but seeing some of his best pitches get batted around by the Braves in a 4-1 loss. He came out today against the Blue Jays and threw another seven strong innings and reaped the benefits, in a 10-4 win.
Lester, who upped his record to 5-5, allowed four runs on seven hits, the two loudest being Jose Bautista's solo home run in the fourth inning and Edwin Encarnacion's two-run blast in the sixth. But beyond that, he cruised for much of the afternoon, thriving after getting a six-run cushion from the Sox offense in the first inning.
Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero has long been struggling with his control, and the Sox immediately pounced on him.
Romero handed out two free passes (leadoff hitter Daniel Nava and David Ortiz), gave up four hits (a double by Dustin Pedroia and singles by Cody Ross single, Mike Aviles and Darnell McDonald) and had to swallow a two-base error on Adrian Gonzalez's ground ball to first. It all amounted to a six-run first inning.
In one inning, Romero gave up more runs (six total, five earned) than he has in any of his previous 15 starts this season. He lasted just two-plus innings altogether, giving up nine runs (eight earned) in his worst start of the season. He fell to 8-2.
Ortiz wound up 1 for 2 with three walks and home run in the fifth inning that put him at 399 for his career. Gonzalez went 2 for 5 with a double and three RBIs.
The Sox have won 9 of their last 11 and with the Rays currently losing in Kansas City, the win could push the Sox into a tie for third in the AL East.
Top of the eighth, Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 4: It was only a couple months ago when Mark Melancon was lugging a 49.55 ERA around like an anchor. It was what he had to show for his four outings with the Sox along with two losses.
But he just came on to relieve Jon Lester, and got three outs on nine pitches, and since being called up June 10, he's given up just one run in seven appearances in his second stint.
His ERA in his second stint? 1.29.
Top of the seventh, Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 4: Jon Lester just wrapped up his seventh inning, a single by Omar Vizquel the only blip from the Toronto offense.
It's the eight start this season in which Lester's gone at least seven innings. Mark Melancon's up in the bullpen, though.
Bottom of the sixth, Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 4: For the firs time all day, the Sox go down in order.
Top of the sixth, Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 4: Lester ran into his first real turbulence, giving up a double to Jose Bautista that stretched to three bases when Darnell McDonald misplayed it off the short fence in right.
A batter later, Edwin Encanacion punished a 2-and-1 changeup, launching it over the Volvo sign atop the Monster for his 22d home run of the season.
Bottom of the fifth, Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 2: David Ortiz's line is going to be an eye-scratcher once the day's done. He's 1 for 1 with four runs scored thanks to three walks.
His bomb was the 21st of the season and the 399th of his career.
Between innings, the Sox moved Ryan Kalish is in center. Darnell McDonald moved from center field to right. Cody Ross came in.
Top of the fifth Red Sox 9, Blue Jays 2: Last time out Jon Lester got roughed up a little by the Braves, giving up a season high 10 hits and saying that he felt like he was "at a loss," making pitches he thought were good ones but not getting the results.
it's coming together for him today. He's faced just three over the minimum through five innings, giving up just three hits thus far. He's only at 60 pitches, so his day looks like it's far from over.
Bottom of the fourth Red Sox 9, Blue Jays 2: The Jays sent Romero out for more punishment in the fourth. He lasted two batters, walking Ortiz for the third time then giving up a Wall double to Cody Ross.
Ortiz scored on an Adrian Gonzalez single to left. (Gonzalez is now 2 for 3 with three RBIs).
Mike Aviles got in on it with a double to left that was aided by Rajai Davis's failed dive attempt (the second hit and the second RBI of the day for Aviles).
Romero's final line: nine runs (eight earned), seven hits, six walks (half of them to David Ortiz) and 90 pitches (48 for strikes).
Top of the fourth, Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 2: Jose Bautista blasted his 25th home run of the season and his second of the series on a 3-and-2 pitch from John Lester.
Of all the pitchers on the Sox staff, Lester's seen the most of Baustista (49 plate appearances) and he's kept him relatively contained (.190 with 3 home runs and 6 RBIs). Bautista's just hot. He had already set the Jays record for most home runs in June. He just hit his 13th of the month, before that no Jay had hit more than a single month.
Bottom of the third, Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 1: Romero got out of the inning without doing any more damage to himself. It'll likely be his last, with right-hander Jesse Chavez warming up in the Jays bullpen.
Fair to say this is Romero's worst outing of the season so far. Through three innings, he's given up seven runs (six earned) on six hits and five walks. Even when he walked seven guys and beaned another last month against the Rays, he managed to allow only four runs in a 5-4 loss.
Top of the third, Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 1: That's eight straight that Jon Lester's sat down now. He got fed Cody Rasmus a healthy dose of pitches away and out of the strike zone and finally got him to chase a cutter down and away to end inning.
Bottom of the second, Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 1: It's not like David Ortiz's numbers are that wild against Ricky Romero (10 for 32 1 homer), but it took eight pitches for Ortiz to even see his first strike. He walked for the second straight inning, the came in an Adrian Gonzalez single that perhaps should have been a double.
Thanks to a baserunning miscue ended, Gonzalez ended up standing on second base with Cody Ross, who didn't make the turn for third. It was the second error on the base paths in two days for the Sox. Mike Aviles got caught dangling between second and third last night.
Regardless, Romero has absolutely no command right now. He's walked four in two innings after walking four in his last start (his season high is seven), and he's he's up to 64 pitches (34 strikes).
Top of the second, Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 1:The Jays go down 1-2-3, and Lester uses all of nine pitches (six strikes) to do it. Frugal.
Bottom of the first, Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 1: Lester's got a few runs to work with here. Ricky Romero handed out two free passes (leadoff hitter Daniel Nava and David Ortiz), gave up four hits (a double by Dustin Pedroia and singles by Cody Ross single, Mike Aviles and Darnell McDonald) and had to swallow a two-base error on Adrian Gonzalez's ground ball to first. It all amounted to a six-run first inning.
In one inning, Romero gave up more runs (six total, five earned) than he has in any of his previous 15 starts this season. His shortest outing this season came earlier this season against Atlanta, when he gave up four runs (three earned) in four innings.
Top of the first, Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0:Jon Lester's coming off a start where he went seven innings, gave up three runs and took the loss, 4-1, to Atlanta. The Jays got to him early in this one, with Brett Lawrie again starting the game with a leadoff double. Colby Rasmus drove him in the next at bat with a single to put the Jays up early.
Pregame:It was way too early to look at Blue Jays-Twins clips, so a few of the guys in the Sox clubhouse watched Chevy Chase's 1985 cult classic "Fletch" instead. Among the guys hanging out on the clubhouse sofa was Clay Buchholz, who was released last night from Massachusetts General Hospital after undergoing treatment for esophagitis.
He said that even though the past few days had been a struggle and that the entire experience, which including intestinal bleeding amounting in "three or four pints" of lost blood and the constant feeling that he was about to pass out, he's feeling much better. His teammates and his manager were both happy to see him.
"He looked so much better than I was led to believe," he said. "Hasn't lost as much weight as I heard he had. He had good color. Eyes were bright. The difference is going to be getting him back in the saddle and hopefully the illness is behind us."
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