BOSTON -- Losers of six of their last seven, and three in a row, the Red Sox needed a spark. Starter Jon Lester proved to be more than a spark as he spun a one-hit gem in the Red Sox' 5-0 win over the Blue Jays Friday night at Fenway Park.
Lester took a perfect game into the sixth inning before No. 9 hitter Maicer Izturis lined a two-out double down the left field line, ending the perfect game bid and was the lone base runner Lester would allow all night. The left-hander spun his third career complete game shutout, allowing the lone hit, striking out five and not walking a batter. It was one of the best performances of his eight-year career.
"The fact is Jon was never really in any stressful situations, even with the base hit double by Izturis to break up the no-hit bid," said manager John Farrell. "He was in a good rhythm all night right from the start."
The Red Sox scored their first run in the second inning on an RBI fielders choice from Will Middlebrooks, scoring Daniel Nava who walked earlier in the inning. They tacked on four more in the seventh where Dustin Pedroia had an RBI single followed up by back-to-back doubles from Nava (2 RBIs) and Jared Saltalamacchia (RBI) later in the inning. Before the doubles the Red Sox were 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position. Middlebrooks finished with two hits, both doubles, while Pedroia and Saltalamachhia each had two-hit games as well. Shane Victorino reached base in four of his five plate appearances going 2-for-3 with two walks.
The teams will be back in action tomorrow afternoon (1:35, NESN) when Clay Buchholz faces the Blue Jays for the first time since members of the Toronto media accused him of messing with the baseball. Toronto will counter with Mark Buehrle.
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What they'll be saying: It was a special night for Lester, who actually described it as a "grind" and said it was the opposite of how he felt during his no-hitter. He eluded to the fact that back then he was a "thrower" and not a pitcher. Lester's best pitch was his sinker as of his season-high 118 pitches he threw 52 sinkers, 41 for strikes ... Until the seventh inning the Red Sox couldn't get a clutch hit as they left nine runners on base in the first six innings, and even after the double to break up the perfect game, Izturis was the tying run ... The team will certainly look to use this game and performance from Lester as a stepping stone to get out of their biggest rut of the season thus far, as even despite the loss the team has lost six of their last eight.