In what would be his best outing of the year so far, Jon Lester struck out 12 in 6 solid innings. Lester gave up just one run on three hits and three walks, lowering his season ERA to 5.65. “It started with Lester,” Sox manager Terry Francona said in a post-game interview. “He was powerful.” Boston also got a lift from a retooled batting order. Red-hot second baseman Dustin Pedroia batted leadoff, and speedy centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury was dropped to the 8th spot. The lower half of the batting order continues to deliver; all of Boston’s 8 runs were driven in by the 1-5 spots.
Kevin Youkilis, batting in David Ortiz’s usual #3 spot, hit two homers. Pedroia in the leadoff spot, and left fielder/cleanup hitter Jason Bay each contributed a round-tripper as well.
After a clean 7th inning, Sox reliever Justin Masterson gave up a homer to Alex Rios, but rallied to retire the side and limit the damage. Ramon Ramirez pitched a scoreless ninth to keep the Sox just one game behind the Yankees in the AL East.
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