Lester leads Red Sox to 3-1 victory over Chicago

Lester leads Red Sox to 3-1 victory over Chicago
April 17, 2014, 11:00 pm
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CHICAGO - Hits, apparently, are overrated.

Especially if you can get the kind of pitching the Red Sox got Thursday night in edging the Chicago White Sox, 3-1.

One night after needing 15 walks and a utility infielder on the mound to win a game with just three hits over the final 13 innings, the Sox managed just five Thursday, but backed by a brilliant effort from Jon Lester, it was enough.

David Ross a 1-1 tie in the top of the ninth with a double to right and pinch-hitter Jonathan Herrera squeezed home another run with a perfectly executed bunt single toward first.

Koji Uehara, sidelined since late last week with some shoulder stiffness, returned to the mound and closed out the game with a save in the ninth.

Lester gave up a single run in eight innings while allowing seven hits, three of which were of the infield variety.

The Sox had to survive a dominant effort from White Sox lefty Chris Sale, who struck out 10 and gave up just one run, a homer by Xander Bogaerts, over seven innings.

The Red Sox cut down a run at the plate in the seventh when Alejandro De Aza roped a ball into the right field corner, and a relay throw from right by Dustin Pedroia arrived just in time for David Ross to slap the tag on a lumbering Adam Dunn, who had tried to score all the way from first.

The Red Sox broke through first when Bogaerts rocketed a ball measured at\ 425 feet into the left field seats for his first homer of the season.

It also represented his second RBI in as many nights after going without one in the first 14 games.

The White Sox quickly tied it in the bottom of the inning. After Lester retired De Aza to stretch his string to 16 consecutive hitters retired, he allowed his first hit when Tyler Flowers hit a ball into the shortstop hole that Bogaerts gloved but couldn't corral.

Leury Garcia followed with a double that sent Flowers to third and when Adam Eaton hit a grounder to the right side, beyond the dive of Mike Napoli at first, Lester was a half-step slow getting to the bag to take a throw from Pedroia, allowing Flowers to cross the plate with Chicago's first run.

 

STAR OF THE GAME: Jon Lester

Lester allowed just one run in eight innings, continuing his terrific start to the season. He retired the first 16 hitters he faced before allowing a run in the sixth.

He also went deep on a night when the Sox needed length, having asked eight innings of their bullpen the night before.

HONORABLE MENTION: David Ross

In addition to guiding Lester through eight innings of one-run ball, he contributed the go-ahead double in the top of the ninth and also made a highlight-reel play on a foul ball near the Red Sox dugout on Paul Konerko in the fifth.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Ronald Belisario

The White Sox bullpen cost them the game Wednesday and Belisario did the same Thursday night, walking the first hitter he faced and giving up the RBI-double to Ross, which gave the Red Sox the run they needed to snap a 1-1 tie.

TURNING POINT: After the White Sox managed a run off Lester in the sixth, he got himself out of a first-and-third, one-out jam to strand two baserunners and preserve the tie.

BY THE NUMBERS: The Red Sox notched back-to-back wins for the first time since April 2-3 in Baltimore during the first series of the season.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "I was looking for that pitch and he (Chris Sale) threw it right where I was looking for it.'' Xander Bogaerts on his tape-measure solo homer in the sixth inning.