Lester's gem gets Sox back to even

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Lester's gem gets Sox back to even

CHICAGO - A week ago Saturday, the Red Sox had hit bottom, blowing a nine-run lead while dropping their fifth in a row.

The turnaround, though, has come quickly.

The Red Sox won their sixth straight game Saturday night, shutting out the Chicago White Sox, 1-0, behind Jon Lester, who earned his first of the season with seven shutout innings.

The victory enabled the Red Sox to reach the .500 mark with a 10-10 record. By contrast, the Red Sox didn't get to .500 last year until May 15.

Lester allowed just five hits while walking one and striking out seven. Of the five hits against him, two didn't leave the infield.

In his final inning of work, the White Sox had the potential tying run on third, but Lester got Gordon Beckham to hit into an inning-ending forceout.

The Red Sox' only run came in the fourth inning when Ryan Sweeney led off with his major league-leading 11th double and rode home one out later on a single to right-center by Adrian Gonzalez.

It was the sixth time in the last seven games that Gonzalez has driven in at least one run.

Franklin Morales got the first two outs in the eighth. After walking Paul Konerko, Vicente Padilla got Alex Rios on a groundout to second.

Alfredo Aceves worked the ninth for his fifth save.

Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays lineups: Porcello goes for win No. 23

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Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays lineups: Porcello goes for win No. 23

The A.L. East-champion Red Sox, still fighting for playoff position, field their usual lineup as they open David Ortiz's final regular-season series tonight (7:10) against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox (92-67) are two games behind the Texas Rangers (94-65) in the race for the best record in the A.L., with the Cleveland Indians (91-67) a half-game behind Boston.

Rick Porcello (22-4, 3.11 ERA), the likely Game 1 starter in the ALDS, will try to add to his Cy Young Award resume tonight. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Marco Estrada (9-9, 3.53).

The Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles (both 87-72) are tied for the A.L. wild-card lead with the Detroit Tigers (85-73) 1 1/2 games back.

It’s the final regular season series for Oritz, with ceremonies planned to honor the retiring Red Sox DH prior to each of the final three game this weekend. 

The lineups:

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Brock Holt 3B

Mookie Betts RF

David Ortiz DH

Hanely Ramirez 1B

Xander Bogaerts SS

Jackie Bradley CF

Sandy Leon C

Andrew Benintendi LF

Rick Porcello P

 

BLUE JAYS

Eziquiel Carrera LF

Josh Donaldson 3B

Edwin Encarnacion DH

Jose Bautista RF

Russell Martin C

Troy Tulowitzki SS

Justin Smoak 1B

Kevin Pillar CF

Devon Travis 2B

Marco Estrada RHP