Two players making their major league debuts. Another making his professional debut at a new position. And Jon Lester putting a stranglehold on the Rays offense. It was the perfect formula for the Red Sox to beat the Rays, 4-0, Sunday afternoon, finishing off the three-game sweep of the Rays and extending their win streak to seven games.
Lester went seven innings, giving up four hits and a walk with 12 strikeouts a hit batter and a wild pitch for the win. He threw 122 pitches, 73 for strikes, as he improved to 6-6 lowering his ERA from 3.45 to 3.15. In a stretch from the final out of the third until the last out of the fifth he recorded every out by a strikeout, with a James Loney ground-rule double with one in the fifth breaking up the stretch.
Erik Bedard took the loss, falling to 2-4 with a 4.27 ERA. He went 4 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits and four walks with four strikeouts. He threw 104 pitches, 60 for strikes.
Lester struck out every member of the Rays starting lineup except James Loney at least once. Jerry Sands, who was called up by the Rays just before the game, struck out three times against Lester.
Brock Holt, playing first base for the first time in his career, continued to be sensational at the top of the lineup. He went 4 for 4 with four doubles, a walk, a stolen base, a run scored and two RBI. His four doubles matched the Sox single-game record for the sixth time, the first since Victor Martinez did so exactly four years ago, June 1, 2010, against the A’s.
Alex Hassan made his major league debut, starting in right field. He struck out in his first at-bat, but singled to center in the fourth for his first major league hit, and came around to score on Holt’s double.
Garin Cecchini also made his major league debut, entering at third base when Dustin Pedroia was ejected after the third inning for arguing balls and strikes. Cecchini got his first major league hit and RBI in the eighth, a double off the wall off reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo, scoring Holt, who walked and stole second leading off the inning.
Edward Mujica pitched a scoreless eighth, and Koji Uehara pitched a perfect ninth.