SAN FRANCISCO -- Turning in what was probably his best outing since the middle of May, Jon Lester fell two outs shy of recording what would have been his fourth career complete game shutout.
That was about the only disappointment on a night in which the Red Sox began a week-long interleague road trip with a 7-0 shutout of the San Francisco Giants.
Lester won for the first time in four outings, having gone 0-1 with two no-decisions previous to Monday's start. With 107 pitches after eight, he got Brandon Belt to fly out for the first out in the ninth, but then gave up consecutive hard-hit singles and turned the game over to Brandon Workman.
Workman got the final two outs to help finish off the seventh Red Sox' shutout of the season.
The Sox, who left earlier in the day from Boston, improved to 10-3 in interleague play this season, the best mark in the major leagues.
The Sox got Lester all the support he would need in the second inning with three runs off San Francisco starter Tim Lincecum.
Will Middlebrooks delivered Jarrod Saltalamacchia from third with a sacrifice fly. Lincecum then balked home Daniel Nava when the pitcher stumbled in his delivery. A sharp single to center from Shane Victorino (three hits) accounted for the third run.
The Sox tacked on solo runs in the fifth on Stephen Drew's RBI double and in the sixth when reliever Guillermo Moscoso.
Just for good measure, they added two insurance runs in the ninth. Saltalamacchia's 34th double of the season and Daniel Nava's third single of the night accounted for the two runs.
STAR OF THE GAME: Jon Lester
Two straight singles with one out in the ninth cost Lester a chance to post his fourth career complete game shutout, but that was a minor setback. Coming off a tough travel day and a weekend in which the bullpen got plenty of work, the Sox needed what they got from Lester -- a strong start that lasted into the late innings.
HONORABLE MENTION: Daniel Nava
Nava is a Bay Area native, so his three-hit, two-run, one-RBI night had special significance. He was on base four times, which is nothing new -- he's reached basew safely in every one of his last 31 starts
GOAT OF THE GAME: Tim Lincecum
Lincecum had command issues early on, with a two costly walks and a balk in the first three innings. He was chased in the sixth inning, his team already in a 5-0 hole.
TURNING POINT: The Giants never posed much of a threat to Lester, but in the sixth, they got a one-out walk and a single to give them two baserunners. Lester, however, quickly turned the Giants back when he got both Marco Scutaro and Brandon Belt on flyouts.
BY THE NUMBERS: The Red Sox improved to 10-3 in interleague play this season, the best record in the majors.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "Coming out of the All-Star break, he's been close to the form that he started the season with.'' John Farrell on Jon Lester.