May 30, 2011: White Sox 7, Red Sox 3

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May 30, 2011: White Sox 7, Red Sox 3

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Now that Jon Lester has gotten over his troubles in April, perhaps he can figure out what's gone wrong in May.

Lester was shelled for seven runs in 5 23 innings Monday night in a 7-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Though the loss was his first this month -- and first since April 12 -- the start pushed Lester's ERA in May to 5.50.

Lester issued four walks and hit two others batters. A one-out, bases-loaded bloop single to right by Alexi Ramirez snapped a 3-3 tie in the sixth and Carlos Quentin greeted reliever Dan Wheeler with a two-run single to tack on two more.

Before being lifted, Lester threw 127 pitches, becoming the third Red Sox pitcher to throw 125 or more pitches in a start this season.

The Sox got a solo homer from Adrian Gonzalez in the first and a two-run single by Dustin Pedroia in the third, but were blanked over their final six innings. Jake Peavy improved to 2-0, going seven innings.

Boston managed just seven hits and after scoring 14 or more runs three times in the span of seven games, the team has scored just seven runs in its last three games combined.

Player of the Game: Jake Peavy

Peavy missed the first five weeks of the season because of an injury, but looked healthy against the Sox, allowing three runs in seven innings of work.

Unlike his counterpart Jon Lester, Peavy had sharp command, issuing only one walk.

Honorable Mention: Paul Konkero

Konkero belted a solo homer that would have been over everything in left had it not first hit a sign atop the Monster Seats and also had a single that helped the White Sox grab a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

Later, he was robbed of his third hit on a fine diving play by Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

The Goat: Jon Lester

Lester wasn't himself. He walked four, hit two others and had baserunners in every inning -- and multiple baserunners in four of the six innings he pitched.

By his own admission, Lester didn't have a good feel for any of his pitches except his cut fastball, which manager Terry Francona believed he overused at times.

Turning Point: Lester loses control

With two on and two out in the sixth inning, Lester walked White Sox leadoff hitter Juan Pierre -- who is hardly known as a selective hitter.

That moved baserunners Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham into scoring position and when Alexi Ramirez dumped a single into shallow right, just beyond the reach of Adrian Gonzalez, the White Sox had two runs and were in the middle of a four-run inning.

By the Numbers: 31

Adrian Gonzalez has 31 RBI this month, the most for any Red Sox player in a single month since David Ortiz knocked in 35 in July of 2006.

Quote of Note

"I really didn't have a feel for anything. I stunk -- there's really no other way to put it.'' -- Jon Lester

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

STANLEY CUP FINALS: Guentzel's goal lifts Penguins by Predators 5-3 in Game 1

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STANLEY CUP FINALS: Guentzel's goal lifts Penguins by Predators 5-3 in Game 1

PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh rookie Jake Guentzel beat Nashville's Pekka Rinne with 3:17 left in regulation to put the Penguins ahead to stay in a 5-3 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.

Guentzel snapped an eight-game goalless drought to help the defending champions escape after blowing a three-goal lead.

Nick Bonino scored twice for the Penguins. Conor Sheary scored his first of the playoffs and Evgeni Malkin scored his eighth. The Penguins won despite putting just 12 shots on goal. Murray finished with 23 saves for the Penguins, who used the first coach's challenge in finals history to wipe out an early Nashville goal and held on despite going an astonishing 37:09 at one point without a shot.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

Ryan Ellis, Colton Sissons and Frederick Gaudreau scored for the Predators. Rinne stopped just seven shots.

The Penguins had all of three days to get ready for the final following a draining slog through the Eastern Conference that included a pair of Game 7 victories, the second a double-overtime thriller against Ottawa last Thursday.

Pittsburgh downplayed the notion it was fatigued, figuring adrenaline and a shot at making history would make up for any lack of jump while playing their 108th game in the last calendar year.

Maybe, but the Penguins looked a step behind at the outset. The Predators, who crashed the NHL's biggest stage for the first time behind Rinne and a group of talented defenseman, were hardly intimidated by the stakes, the crowd or the defending champions.

All the guys from the place dubbed "Smashville" have to show for it is their first deficit of the playoffs on a night a fan threw a catfish onto the ice to try and give the Predators a taste of home.

The Penguins, who led the league in scoring, stressed before Game 1 that the best way to keep the Predators at bay was by taking the puck and spending copious amounts of time around Rinne. It didn't happen, mostly because Nashville's forecheck pinned the Penguins in their own end. Clearing attempts were knocked down or outright swiped, tilting the ice heavily in front of Murray.

Yet Pittsburgh managed to build a quick 3-0 lead anyway thanks to a fortunate bounce and some quick thinking by Penguins video coordinator Andy Saucier. Part of his job title is to alert coach Mike Sullivan when to challenge a call. The moment came 12:47 into the first when P.K. Subban sent a slap shot by Murray that appeared to give the Predators the lead.

Sullivan used his coach's challenge, arguing Nashville forward Filip Forsberg was offside. A lengthy review indicated Forsberg's right skate was in the air as he brought the puck into a zone, a no-no.

It temporarily deflated Nashville and gave the Penguins all the wiggle room they needed to take charge.

Malkin scored on a 5-on-3 15:32 into the first, Sheary made it 2-0 just 65 seconds later and when Nick Bonino's innocent centering pass smacked off Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm's left knee and by Rinne just 17 seconds before the end of the period, Pittsburgh was in full command.

It looked like a repeat of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Ottawa, when the Penguins poured in four goals in the first period of a 7-0 rout.

Nashville, unlike the Senators, didn't bail. Instead they rallied.

Ellis scored the first goal by a Predator in a Stanley Cup Final 8:21 into the second. Though Nashville didn't get another one by Murray, they also kept Rinne downright bored at the other end. Pittsburgh didn't manage a shot on net in the second period, the first time it's happened in a playoff game in franchise history.

Nashville kept coming. Sissons beat Murray 10:06 into the third and Gaudreau tied it just after a fruitless Pittsburgh power play.

No matter. The Penguins have become chameleons under Sullivan. They can win with both firepower and precision.

Guentzel slipped one by Rinne with 3:17 to go in regulation and Bonino added an empty netter to give Pittsburgh early control of the series.

Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

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Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

SAN FRANCISCO - An enraged Bryce Harper charged the mound, fired his helmet and traded punches to the head with San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland after getting hit by a fastball, setting off a wild brawl Monday during the Washington Nationals' 3-0 win over the Giants.

Drilled in the right hip by a 98 mph heater on Strickland's first pitch in the eighth inning with two outs, none on and Washington ahead 2-0, Harper didn't hesitate. The slugger pointed his bat at Strickland, yelled at him and took off.

No one got in Harper's way as he rushed the mound. His eyes were wide as he flung his helmet - it sailed way wide of Strickland, it might've slipped - and they started swinging away. The 6-foot-4 Strickland hit Harper in the face, then they broke apart for a moment before squaring off again. Harper punched Strickland in the head as the benches and bullpen emptied.

Giants teammates Michael Morse and Jeff Samardzija collided hard as they tried to get between the two fighters. Three Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the pack all the way into the dugout, while a teammate held back Harper.

Harper and Strickland were both ejected. They have some history between them - in the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland, and the All-Star outfielder glared at the reliever as he rounded the bases after the second shot in Game 4.