Box Score Bank:Lester's first winMORE: (Former) Home of the BravesGive LeBron his due


Box Score Bank:Lester's first winMORE: (Former) Home of the BravesGive LeBron his due

It's been a while since we cranked up the Box Score Bank around these parts, so without further adieu . . .

Tonight at Fenway, Jon Lester will start against the Braves for the second time in his career. When was that first time, you didn't ask? Well, it came six years ago, in Lester's first career win.

So let's set our sights on June 16, 2006

X-Men: The Last Stand was No. 1 at the box office . . . Chamillionaire was riding dirty atop the Billboard charts . . . We were one month (less a day) from the launch of Twitter . . .

And down at Turner Field in Atlanta, Jon Lester was picking up win No. 1:

Final score: Red Sox 4, Braves 1

Lester went six innings on the afternoon, giving up only one run (on a sac fly by Chipper Jones), striking out five and walking three on a total of 93 pitches. The Sox offense on the afternoon was courtesy of Mr. Three Doors Down himself, Jason Varitek, who went 3-4 with three RBI. Mike Lowell knocked in the other run with a second inning single.

Lester went on to win his next two starts, eventually improved to 5-0 and didn't pick up his first loss until start No. 10. All part of an impressive winning percentage that still ranks in the Top 10 in Major League history.

The Sox will take another one of those tonight, as they look to earn their sixth straight win.

That is, as long as Thunder doesn't ruin everything for the second consecutive night.

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Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays


Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth career grand slam to help Rick Porcello get his major league-leading 22nd win, and the Boston Red Sox clinched a playoff berth by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 Saturday night for their 10th consecutive win.

Boston maintained a 5 1/2-game lead over Toronto for the division title and ensured no worse than the AL's second wild card. While the Red Sox technically have a magic number of one, the Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles play each other three times in the season's final week - meaning only one of them can win match Boston's 91 wins.

Among the other wild-card contenders, only Detroit can reach 91 victories.

Pedroia stopped an 0-for-17 skid with a single in the sixth and gave Boston a 6-3 lead with a seventh-inning drive off Danny Farquhar.

Porcello (22-4) gave up three runs, eight hits and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings. He just missed getting his 12th consecutive start of seven or more innings and three runs or fewer, which would have moved him past Cy Young (1904) and Pedro Martinez (2000) for the longest stretch during the same season in franchise history.

Craig Kimbrel, the fifth Boston reliever, reached 30 saves for the sixth straight season despite allowing Logan Forsythe's solo homer in the ninth.

Brad Miller hit a two-run double in a three-run second that put Tampa Bay up 3-1 and gave him 80 RBIs.

Tampa Bay threatened in the second but failed to score due to two nice defensive plays. Pedroia made a throw from just in front of the outfield grass at second base on Mikie Mahtook's grounder to get Corey Dickerson at the plate. Third baseman Brock Holt made a solid play along the line on Alexei Ramirez's grounder and threw him out at first to end the inning.

Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason


Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.

Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."

He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured. 

“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.

“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”

Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.

He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015.