Satisfied Lester records first win

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Satisfied Lester records first win

CHICAGO -- Jon Lester had been here before: low-scoring game, tough opponent, no margin for error.

In his first two starts this season, Lester had the misfortune of drawing Justin Verlander and Ricky Romero as his opponents, and lost despite pitching well.

On Saturday, the run support wasn't much better, but Lester made the one run he got stand up against Jake Peavy and the Chicago White Sox, 1-0.

He went seven innings and allowed just five hits while walking one and striking out seven.

"Really, any win is satisfying,'' said Lester after the Red Sox had run their winning streak to six straight. "Those games are fun. It's just a battle. I've been on the other end of those and you feel like you do everything you can to put yourself in a position to win and the other guy just does a little bit more.

"That was big tonight. These are fun. Every win is important for a pitcher.''

"He didn't really struggle with anything tonight,'' said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "Even when he fell behind, we felt like we were pretty good and he could throw any pitch and be OK.''

Lester's toughest inning came in the first when he threw 32 pitches, issued his only walk and had to work out of a second-and-third jam with two outs.

"I was just missing on the corners,'' said Lester, "and ended up having to pitch behind a little bit. You have those times during the game when you get into jams and you have to make some pitches.''

That scenario presented itself again in the seventh, Lester's final inning when he was nearing 120 pitches. Two infield singles helped give the White Sox runners at the corners and Dayan Viciedo stood at third, representing the tying run.

But he got Gordon Beckham on a forceout for his final out and turned the game over to the bullpen.

With Peavy matching him pitch-for-pitch, Lester couldn't afford to make any mistakes.

"You can't really worry about that,'' Lester said. "You have to go out and keep throwing stirkes, keep throwing the ball down in the zone. More often than not, if I just do my job and not worry about how many runs we score and prevent them from scoring runs, more often than not, I'm going to be on the better side of things.

"It just so happens this season, I've run up against guys who have been going good. That's the nature of the beast sometimes.''

Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory

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Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory

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Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract bn August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:

“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”

Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.

That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.