Red Sox rout Indians, 14-1
Jon Lester last won a game seven starts and six weeks ago. That was before the Olympics, before Patriots training camp, even before the 4th of July holiday. The same pitcher who had lost no more than nine games in each of his first six major league seasons had dropped 10 starts this year before earning more than five wins.
That streak came to a defiant end on Sunday night as Lester and the Red Sox lineup battered Cleveland for a 14-1 win.
The score alone shows the Red Sox rolled to victory in part because of an outstanding offensive performance, but the run totals take away somewhat from what Lester was able to do on the mound. He pitched six innings of strong baseball, allowing just three hits and one run in the start. He struck out 12 Cleveland batters, marking the first time this season that the man tabbed to be the Red Sox ace reached double digits in strikeouts.
Lester even proved he could get himself out of a jam. It seemed like the same-old, same-old for the lefthander when, after beginning the game with a three-run cushion thanks to an RBI double from Dustin Pedroia and a two-run home run from Adrian Gonzalez in the top of the first, Lester started the bottom of the first by giving up back-to-back singles. Lester struck out Cleveland’s Shin-Soo Choo on with runners on the corners, but he followed the strike out by giving up a run on a sacrifice fly. Lester then walked the next batter, but he got himself out of anymore trouble by forcing a ground out for the final out of the inning.
For the rest of Lester’s night, he would allow just one more hit and one more walk.
“To minimize it to one run in that situation, that’s what I’ve been kind of missing all year, those innings where I’m able to shut them down and maybe concede one depending on the situation,” Lester told reporters after the game.
- Aside from Lester’s stellar outing, there is much to be said about the amount of run support he received. Because the Red Sox scored early and often, Lester was able to simply focus on pitching well. For a pitcher who, more often than not this season, has not received much run support, a 14-run cushion certainly had to be a nice bit of relief.
- Pedroia, who has struggled at the plate at times this season but has been catching fire recently, went 2-for-3 Sunday before he was pulled to get some rest. Pedroia scored three runs and knocked in a run as well. The game marked Pedroia’s sixth multi-hit game in his last 10 game.
- Because the game was such a high-scoring affair for the Sox, many players were able to leave early and get some rest. Combined with an off day on Monday, the Boston squad should be in good shape energy-wise to start a critical series with the second-place Orioles on Tuesday.
- You can always nitpick, but after a game like Sunday’s, it is not worth it to point out the negatives. The Red Sox and Jon Lester desperately needed a big, easy win, and that’s what they got.
The Red Sox are still 11 games out of first place in the AL East and 5.5 games behind when it comes to the Wild Card race. After a day off Monday, the Sox will look to fight for a playoff spot starting with a three-game series against the Orioles beginning on Tuesday.