BOSTON Jon Lester struggled early, giving up three runs over the first three innings to the Tigers, but he settled down to retire 10 of the next 12 batters he faced.The Red Sox offense also rebounded after being retired in order the first time through, to beat the Tigers, 6-4, for the third straight game.Lester went 6 23 innings, giving up four runs on 10 hits with no walks, seven strikeouts, and a wild pitch. He threw 120 pitches, 83 for strikes. It was his second outing this season without giving up a walk, along with a complete-game win against the Mariners on May 14.The Sox gave Lester four runs in the fourth. With two outs, Adrian Gonzalez hit a ground-rule double into the Sox bullpen in center, David Ortiz hit his 12th home run of the season into the seats in straightaway center, Kevin Youkilis singled, and Will Middlebrooks hit his sixth home run of the season, giving the Sox a 4-3 edge.With Marlon Byrds single after Middlebrooks home run, the Sox had five straight hits in the inning, one short of their season high for an inning, when they had six straight in the eighth inning against the Rays on April 13.But Lester was not involved in the decision. Leading 4-3, he left with two outs and a runner on second base in the seventh. Matt Albers, who came in to relieve, gave up a single to Andy Dirks. Miguel Cabrera, the next batter, sliced a pop down the right field line. Gonzalez, playing right, charged in to field the ball. But as he dove and tumbled the ball fell from his glove as the tying run scored, charged to Lester.Gonzalez made up for the in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Octavio Dotel in to relive Smyly, Daniel Nava walked and Mike Aviles singled. Gonzalezs second ground-rule double of the game scored Nava, putting the Sox ahead by a run.In the eighth, Kevin Youkilis led off with home run off the Sports Authority sign about the Monster in left field. It was Youkilis fourth home run of the season.Except for the Youkilis home run, the Sox scored all their runs in the game with two out.Albers got the win, pitching one-third of an inning, giving up two hits and a walk. His record is now 1-0 with a 2.11 ERA. Dotel took the loss for the Tigers. Alfredo Aceves recorded his 13th save of the season.
Fans tend to overlook Rob Ninkovich, but he's been a crucial part of the Patriots' modern success. And that gets him to No. 21 on our list.