The Red Sox got another fantastic performance from Jon Lester on Saturday afternoon and another walk-off win, their sixth of the season, beating Baltimore 3-2 in the first game of the doubleheader against the Orioles at Fenway Park.
Pinch-hitters got the job done for the Sox in the ninth, as Jonny Gomes, pinch-hitting for Stephen Drew against O’s reliever T.J. McFarland, reached on an infield single, went to second on David Ross’ sacrifice bunt, and scored on a single to left by Jonathan Herrera, pinch-hitting for Jackie Bradley Jr.
Lester went eight innings, giving up just two unearned runs on five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. He was not involved in the decision, as he lowered his ERA from 2.92 to 2.73.
Koji Uehara earned the win, pitching a perfect ninth with two strikeouts.
MVP: Jon Lester
Lester turned in another sterling performance. He went eight innings, giving up two unearned runs on five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts.
Lester lowered his ERA from 2.92 to 2.73. It was his second straight start without allowing a walk. The 12 unearned runs he has allowed this season are a career high. His previous high was seven in 2012. Lester threw 118 pitches, his third highest total of the season, behind 122 on April 27 at Toronto and 119 on May 3 against Oakland
GOAT: T.J. McFarland
T.J. McFarland entered in the ninth for the Orioles. He gave up a lead-off single to pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes before David Ross sacrifice bunt moved Gomes to second, and Jonathan Herrera’s single scored Gomes for the walk-off win.
Stephen Drew started a nifty 6-4-3 double play on Nelson Cruz’s grounder up the middle to end the eighth.
QUOTE OF THE GAME:
Lester, if recent talk about contract had been a distraction: “judging by today, i don’t think it was much of a distraction”
— Maureen Mullen (@MaureenaMullen) July 5, 2014
NUMBERS TO KNOW:
The Red Sox improved to 15-18 in one-run games and 6-7 in walk-off games…The Sox are now 6-5 against the O’s this season…The Sox’ 33 one-run games is most in the American League…They have played 12 one-run games in their last 19 games…The Sox three errors in the game were one shy of their season high, April 24 against the Yankees…Jonathan Herrera’s ninth-inning single to scored Jonny Gomes with the winning run was Herrera’s first career walk-off hit…Stephen Drew’s second-inning home run was his first since Game 6 of the World Series, and first in 95 regular-season at-bats since Sept. 19, 2013…Dustin Pedroia’s third-inning throwing error was his second error of the season, snapping a 61-game, 301-chance errorless streak since the second inning on April 24 against the Yankees. He entered the game leading the major league second baseman with a .997 fielding percentage…Daniel Nava reached base three times, one shy of his season high, and increased his OBP to .430 since being called up on June 2…Mike Napoli walked in the eighth inning, the eighth straight game he has done so, the longest active streak in the majors. He has reached base in 20 of 24 games since returning from the disabled list on June 8, posting a .404 OBP in that span…Xander Bogaerts went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He is 0 for his last 27 with 12 strikeouts, and has just two hits in his last 50 at-bats…The Sox’ win snapped the O’s season-long four-game win streak. It was the O’s fourth walk-off loss of the season.
WHAT IT MEANS:
The Sox win dropped the O’s into a tie for first place in the American League East (for the time being anyway, with the Blue Jays who have a late game in Oakland). The Sox are now seven games out of first place. A doubleheader sweep would certainly help to clean out some of the feelings left over from being swept at Fenway earlier in the week by the lowly Cubs.
John Lackey (9-5, 3.62) is scheduled to start the night cap at 7:15, opposed by right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (3-8, 4.31).
Lackey allowed six runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings in his only start against the O’s this season, April 18 at Fenway. He is 14-6 in his career against Baltimore, a .700 winning percentage that is his second-highest against any AL opponent, behind only his .760 against Oakland.
This will be Jimenez’s third start this season and seventh of his career against the Sox. The Sox are 2-0 in those starts. Jimenez is 1-3 with a 9.31 ERA in his career against the Sox, 0-1 with a 5.56 ERA this season.
The O’s have provided just 2.91 runs of support to Jimenez. That is the lowest mark in the AL.