Jon Lester went 7 1/3 innings while David Ortiz and newcomer Adam LaRoche both backed him up with home runs as the Boston Red Sox went on to a 7-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles in front of 38,063 at Fenway Park on Saturday night.
It’s the 11th straight win over the Orioles for the Red Sox (57-39) at Fenway Park and it moves them to within 1.5 games of the AL East-leading New York Yankees, who lost earlier in the day. The cellar dwelling Orioles fall to 41-55.
Lester’s mastery of the Orioles continued although he did allow his first runs of the season against him. His curveball was downright nasty and he had good velocity on his fastball. He allowed 2 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks while striking out 9 batters.
The bullpen kept it’s post-All-Star break scoreless streak up as well.
Daniel Bard brought the heat as he hit 100 MPH on the gun in 2/3 of an inning. Ramon Ramirez allowed 2 hits in the 9th and had a strikeout.
Jeremy Guthrie got hit hard early but settled down late. He went 6 2/3 innings, allowing 5 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks while striking out 2.
Mark Hendrickson allowed 2 runs on 2 hits out of the O’s bullpen and old friend Cla Meredith retired both batters he faced.
Big Papi’s 3-run homer in the first got things going for the local nine. LaRoche’s 2-run homer came in the 8th inning and was his only hit in four at-bats in his first game in a Red Sox uniform.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Jason Bay both had two hits each with Ellsbury adding 2 RBIs and his 43rd stolen base of the season. The only member of the starting nine without a hit on the evening was the reigning AL MVP Dustin Pedroia.
Great outing for Lester and it was really nice to see the Red Sox bats wake up and score some runs. They had scored only 16 runs since the All-Star break coming into Saturday’s game.
John Smoltz will look to continue the Orioles’ misery against the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon while David Hernandez will look to stop it.