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Jon Lester Shakes Off First, Goes 6 1/3 Strong Innings in Red Sox' Win

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Jon Lester gets a tap from Mike Napoli after the lefthander exited the game in the seventh, allowing one run in 6 1/3 innings. Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Just like on Monday night, the Red Sox offense did little on Tuesday against the pitching staff of the Minnesota Twins.

Thankfully for the Sox, their own pitchers were even better, putting together a nearly flawless outing en route to the Red Sox’ 2-1 win.

Starter Jon Lester went 6 1/3 innings on Tuesday, allowing one run on four hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

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Lester didn’t exactly get off to the start the Red Sox would have hoped for in the first inning. Although the Twins didn’t score, Lester was forced to throw 33 pitches, including an 11-pitch at bat to Danny Santana to lead off the game and a nine-pitch one to Josh Willingham.

Looking like it was going to be a long night, Lester settled down and came back by striking out the side in the second. Two more 1-2-3 frames in the third and fourth got Lester to the fifth at 74 pitches thrown.

Lester struck out Oswaldo Arcia to start the top of the fifth having retired 11 Twins in a row. Kurt Suzuki singled to break up the streak, but Lester struck out Eduardo Escobar and got Sam Fuld to ground out to end the fifth.

Minnesota did their only damage in the sixth, as Santana led off the inning with a double, then advanced to third on a Dozier sac bunt. Santana scored on a Joe Mauer double to make it 2-1, but Josh Willingham would pop out and Kendrys Morales would ground out to end the threat.

Lester came out for the seventh and got Arcia to pop out on the first pitch. Having gotten through 6 1/3 innings, and throwing 109 pitches, John Farrell decided Lester had done his job and pulled his starter for Burke Badenhop. Badenhop, Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa, and Edward Mujica closed out the final 2 2/3 to give the Red Sox their second straight one-run win.

Lester improved his record to 8-7 on the year and lowered his season ERA from 3.33 to 3.20. He’s now won four of his last five starts, allowing just five earned runs in those wins.