Victories have been hard to come by for Jon Lester this season, with just one win in his first seven starts.
There was little suspense Monday night, when the Red Sox staked him to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and the lefty cruised to a complete-game victory in a 6-1 defeat of the Seattle Mariners.
The was the fourth in a row for the Red Sox, all coming at home, where they had previously lost 11 of their first 15 games this season.
Lester became the first Red Sox pitcher to toss a nine-inning complete game this season. He had pitched an eight-inning complete game on the road in Toronto in the second week of the season in a losing effort.
He retired the first 11 hitters he faced before allowing a two-out infield single to Ichiro Suzuki in the fourth.
The only run came on an infield groundout in the ninth, depriving him of a shutout. He finished with 119 pitches.
Back-to-back doubles in the first by David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez provided Lester with all the backing he would need.
Daniel Nava contributed with a two-run homer in the fourth for his first homer in almost two years. After homering in his first major league at-bat on June 10, 2010, Nava had 171 at-bats without another until Monday night.
A solo homer by Kelly Shoppach two batters after Nava's blast and a bases-loaded sacrifice fly from Marlon Byrd in the eighth closed out the scoring.
Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.
Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.
Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.
Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.
Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.
Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.
Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.
Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.
Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners.
Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014.
Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.