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Red Sox leave the Giants looking tired

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  August 20, 2013 02:08 AM

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SAN FRANCISCO The Red Sox finished their game against the Yankees at 12:19 a.m. on Monday. First pitch against the San Francisco Giants was 22 hours and 57 minutes later and 3,000 miles away.

In between, the Sox caught some sleep in their own beds then reported back to Fenway Park in the morning for a bus ride to Logan Airport and a flight here. Most of the players came to AT&T Park directly from San Francisco International Airport.

But the energetic Sox put 12 runners on base in the first five innings against the San Francisco Giants and scored four runs. That led to an impressive 7-0 victory against the Giants.

Let's be clear: The Giants (55-69) aren't very good and it's not like the Red Sox came here in a covered wagon. But there are days when the schedule beats you and the Sox didn't let that happen.

"The one think that we talked [about] before the game was to not make a big issue out of the travel," manager John Farrell said. "We took a morning flight rather than a night flight. In the end that's kind of what it is."

Jon Lester was the key. The big lefty, who flew here Sunday ahead of the team, threw 8.1 shutout innings. He scattered six hits, walked two and stuck out three.

"Jon was exactly what we needed. We needed a strong pitching performance and on a night when we could use a guy to go deep in the game, he gave us just that," Farrell said.

Lester is 3-1 with a 2.52 ERA in six starts since the All-Star break. He has been steadily edging back to being the pitcher he was at the start of the season. Lester wasn't overpowering against the Giants, but he used a good fastball and one of the best cutters of the season to get 10 outs on the ground and assorted pop-ups.

In two career starts at AT&T Park, the first coming in 2010, Lester has allowed one run over 17.1 innings. He beat Tim Lincecum both times.

"Today I felt like I was pretty strong and had a good fastball that we were able to locate to both sides of the plate," Lester said.

Offensively, the Red Sox had a varied attack. Shane Victorino (3 for 4) and Daniel Nava (3 for 4) were each on base four times and drove in a run. Nava's OBP is up .382 and he has reached base safely in 31 consecutive starts.

Farrell said Nava looks stronger after getting some days off.

"Honestly, nothing's changed," Nava said. "That's how baseball goes. Sometimes the ball falls. Sometimes you get a pitch to hit and you hit it. I try not to look too much into it or it'll drive you crazy."

Nava was thrilled to be back in the Bay Area. He gets to see his daughter, Faith, for the first time since Aug. 7, two days after she was born.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia had two more hits and a walk. He's hitting .272 with a .797 OPS and leads the team with 34 doubles. Salty is 12 of his last 32 with six doubles and five RBIs.

"I'm seeing some pitches that are up and putting them in play," said Saltalamacchia, who has thrived with more playing time. "I've always felt the more I catch the better I play. You're in the game, you're involved."

Also:

The Sox are 10-3 in interleague games, the Giants 4-11. ... David Ortiz played an uneventful eight innings at first base. ... Will Middlebrooks since being called up: 12 of 27, five extra-base hits, five RBIs and six walks in nine games.

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