Lester goes into 8th, pitches Sox to victory

Lester goes into 8th, pitches Sox to victory
June 12, 2014, 11:45 pm
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BOSTON - Jon Lester followed up his shortest outing of the year with one of his longest.

Lester pitched the Red Sox to a 5-2 win over the Indians Thursday night at Fenway Park, allowing just 2 runs (1 earned) on 8 hits and a walk while striking out 4 over 7.2 innings.

It's his 8th start this year of at least 7.0 innings, and the third that he's gone into the 8th inning.

"He was very powerful the first three or four innings," John Farrell said. We unfortunately gave them an extra out in that two-run inning where they narrowed the gap from a three-run lead down to 3-2. But he got a number of big strikeouts early on . . . but Jon was strong. He worked ahead in the count. The one walk issued. He didn't contribute to their cause. Even though they've got a number of left-handed hitters in that lineup they swing the bat well against lefties, and he and David Ross once again combined to have a very good game plan executed."

Given a 1-0 lead after the second inning, Lester didn't look back. In the fifth inning, the Indians put two men on with two outs, but Mike Aviles fouled out to end the threat.

In the sixth, now trailing 3-0, Cleveland broke through with two runs. Michael Bourn was safe on a fielding error at first base by Lester, and Michael Brantley's double moved him to third base.

With one out, Ryan Raburn singled just past Dustin Pedroia scoring both runs to make it a 3-2 game. Then, a hot shot towards Brock Holt got through. That hit was enough to frustrate Lester as he threw his hands up in the air.

They weren't necessarily good hits, but just good enough to sneak through the infield.

"I think that's where the frustration boils over is just grinding and grinding and continue to make pitches and balls are just getting under guys' glove or take a weird hop and kind of get up on a guy," Lester said. "Obviously you could see frustration from me. That's in no way shape or form towards my teammates. I think we're all, you know, frustrated at how things have been going, and I show my emotions. I made sure I talked to Brock to make sure that he knew that that was no way directed at him."

Lester is an emotional guy, which works for him, and other times against him. He said sometimes he needs to let it out so it doesn't boil over. Thursday night, it didn't. He didn't allow another run the rest of the way.

Lester improved to 7-7 on the season, but his record doesn't exactly paint an accurate picture of how good he's been this year. His 7 losses are tied for the most in the AL, but none of the other three pitchers with 7 losses has an ERA lower than 4.85. He lowered it tonight from 3.52 to 3.33

"He threw well," David Ross said. "He threw the ball really good. He established his fastball early, had a pretty good breaking ball and used both sides of the plate. Lot of fastballs. Lefty-heavy lineup. We slowed them down a little bit early on. He did a good job of mixing secondary pitches. That first inning (2 Ks, pop out) was as good as he can be and just kind of carried it on from there."

The win gave him 107 in his career, moving past Joe Dobson for sole possession of 9th place on the Red Sox' all-time list. Among left-handers, only Mel Parnell (123) has more.