Now this is the Jon Lester Red Sox fans expected to see. For the second straight start, Lester was in complete command of the strike zone, and the Sox received a fielding gift from the Angels in a 5-1 win last night at Fenway Park.
With the game tied at 1-1 and nobody out in the bottom of the 8th, the Sox loaded the bases. Two outs later, the same three base runners occupied the same three bases. Jeremy Hermida then hit a fly ball to the warning track of the Green Monster.
Fortunately for Boston and Hermida, the warning track caught the ball, because the Angels’ Juan Rivera couldn’t negotiate what is legitimately a tough left field at Fenway. All three runners scored. Hermida then came around to score on a clean, stinging double from Mike Lowell.
A difficult side drama to the game was the performance of DH David Ortiz, who stranded runners all over the place and could have used a third strike out rather than grounding into a rall-killing double play. He combined for six outs in his four AB's. Ortiz showed signs of life against Baltimore by hitting two home runs in the same game, but he continues to guess at pitches rather than trusting his bat speed, which might be the biggest statement anybody could make about his status as a full-time player.
Lester followed up his combined shutout in Toronto with another strong outing, and after his typical slow start, has reeled off two straight wins while surrendering but one run in 15 innings over he two starts. He evened his record at 2-2 and say his bloated ERA drop below 4.00 at 3.93.
Ervin Santana pitched very well and did not figure in the decision. He stands at 1-2 with an ERA above 4.0 for the struggling Angels.
The Sox look for the sweep tonight, having seemingly righted the ship temporarily after suffering a sweep at the hands of the lowly Baltimore Orioles.