Jon Lester had a very tough act to follow in Clay Buchholz, who dominated the Toronto Blue Jays over eight innings on Tuesday night, but Lester did him one better, pitching seven scoreless innings and recording 11 of the Red Sox 15 strikeouts in a 2-0 win.
The offense continues to struggle for Boston, which reached the .500 mark for the first time in a few weeks, evening the season slate at 14-14.
Lester came into the game having pitched poorly for much of the month. However, he took control of the game right away, despite walking the first Toronto batter of the evening, Mike McCoy. Any feelings of, “Here we go again,” were quickly doused when Lester finally took control of base stealing binge Sox’ opponents had been enjoying.
McCoy was anxious to steal second and instead wound up getting picked off by Lester, which seemed to energize the lefty. He struck out the next two batters to end the Jay’s first inning.
Vernon Wells greeted Lester with a double to begin the home half of the second inning and reached third base with one out. Lester than repeated his first-inning performance by striking out the final two batters again.
Lester would not allow another base runner until the sixth, when the patient McCoy drew his second walk of the night.
The offensive hero for the Red Sox was the surprising Darnell McDonald, who scored the first run and knocked in the insurance run, making a hard luck loser of Brett Cecil, who pitched a very solid game for the Jays.
Daniel Bard took the mound for the Sox in the eighth inning, allowed a leadoff double to Alex Gonzalez before striking out three straight Toronto pinch hitters summoned by Manager Cito Gaston.
Jonathan Papelbon notched the 15th and final strikeout for Red Sox pitching during a 1-2-3 9th to earn the save.