Red Sox salvage a win in Philadelphia, 5-2

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Red Sox salvage a win in Philadelphia, 5-2

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
PHILADELPHIA -- Unable to score many runs of late, the Red Sox needed a strong pitching performance to avoid a sweep by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Jon Lester gave them one.

Lester limited the Phils to just two hits over seven innings as the Red Sox defeated Philadelphia 5-2, snapping a two-game losing streak and giving them just their second win in the last eight games.

Lester, 10-4, didn't allow a hit until Chase Utley lined a single to left with one out in the fourth.

Boston belted three homers -- all with the bases empty. Jason Varitek hit in one in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia and Varitek homered back-to-back in the eighth.

The Sox also got some production from the lower half of their lineup.

In the fifth, Josh Reddick tripled and scored on Drew Sutton's single to right. Sutton took third on a hit-and-run as Marco Scutaro singled to right, then scored on Jacoby Ellsbury's single between short and second.

After a scoreless eighth from Daniel Bard, the Phils snapped the shutout bid with a two-run homer by Ryan Howard off Bobby Jenks.

STAR OF THE GAME: Jon Lester
Lester stopped a personal two-game losing streak with a fine effort, shutting out the Phillies over seven innings and limiting them to just two hits in winning his 10th game.

The lefty didn't allow a hit until the fourth, then retired eight in a row before allowing another baserunner to help the Red Sox snap their own two-game streak.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jason Varitek
Varitek, moved up to fifth in the Red Sox lineup, smacked two homers -- both solo -- to account for 40 percent of the Red Sox' output.

It was Varitek's first multi-homer game since April 10, 2010.

GOAT OF THE GAME: David Herndon
Herndon came on in relief of Cole Hamels, who left after taking a comebacker off his right hand in the fourth inning.

Coming into a scoreless game, Herndon gave up two runs on five hits over two innings and was saddled with the loss.

TURNING POINT
Given that the Sox looked to be in for a long afternoon against Hamels, the line drive off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez in the fourth inning -- which eventually drove Hamels from the game -- may have been the break the Red Sox were looking for.

After being held scoreless over the first four innings, the Sox scored three runs against the next two Philadelphia relievers.

BY THE NUMBERS: The last six homers hit by the Red Sox -- three Thursday afternoon and three Saturday night in Pittsburgh -- have all come with the bases empty.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "He may be small in stature, but not in his opinion of himself.'' -- Terry Francona when asked if Dustin Pedroia was the smallest cleanup hitter in baseball.

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

Saturday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Porcello goes for 22nd, Holt at 3B

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Saturday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Porcello goes for 22nd, Holt at 3B

Closing in on the A.L. East title, the Red Sox look to make it 10 wins in a row tonight when they play the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg.

Right hander Rick Porcello (21-4, 3.08 ERA) goes for his 22nd win for the Red Sox, opposed by Rays right-hander Matt Andriese (8-7, 4.41). Porcello is coming off a complete game victory in Baltimore.

The Red Sox began the day with a magic number of four to clinch the A.L. East with eight games to play. They could clinch a wild-card spot tonight with a victory and a Baltimore Orioles loss. 

Brock Holt starts at third base and Chris Young is in left field for Boston.

The lineups:

RED SOX
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Brock Holt 3B
Chris Young LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
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Rick Porcello RHP 

RAYS
Logan Forsythe 2B
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Brad Miller 1B
Corey Dickerson LF
Nick Franklin DH
Mikey Mahtook RF
Alexi Ramirez SS
Curt Casali C
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Matt Andriese RHP 

David Ortiz hits 2-run homer, Red Sox beat Rays, 2-1

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David Ortiz hits 2-run homer, Red Sox beat Rays, 2-1

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - David Ortiz hit a two-run homer in the first inning to set the RBI record for a player in his final season, and the AL East-leading Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 on Friday night for their ninth straight win

Ortiz's 37th homer came off Chris Archer (8-19) and raised his RBIs total to 124, one more than Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1920. The 40-year-old's 540th homer, his 300th on the road, struck an overhanging catwalk above the right-field seats.

Coming off four-game sweeps of the New York Yankees and Baltimore, the Red Sox began the night with a six-game lead over second-place Toronto in the AL East. They lowered their magic number to two for clinching a playoff berth.

Drew Pomeranz (3-5) allowed one run and four hits in five innings. Brad Ziegler, the fifth Boston reliever, got his fourth save after allowing a leadoff double in the ninth to Evan Longoria.