MLB

Blue Jays have no answer for Lester in 5-0 loss

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BOSTON (AP)

Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia took his time, rattling them off one by one: Cutter. Sinker. Four-seamer. Changeup.

Just about everything Boston's Jon Lester threw against the Blue Jays was spot on.

The left-hander breezed through Toronto's lineup with ease Friday night, retiring the first 17 batters and holding the Blue Jays to just one hit as the Red Sox snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-0 win.

''When you have command of every pitch, and I think he used our aggressiveness against us a little bit - he's pretty special when you could throw cutter, sinker, four-seam, hook, changeup, and on both sides of the plate,'' Arencibia said. ''The guy's one of the best in the game for a reason. He showed that tonight.''

The Blue Jays were outmatched from the onset.

Lester (5-0) required just seven pitches to record the first four outs and kept Toronto off-balance until Maicer Izturis broke up the perfect game with two outs in the sixth, lining a first-pitch double several feet over the outstretched arm of third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Lester ended the inning by striking out pinch- hitter Adam Lind and allowed just one of the remaining nine batters to hit the ball out of the infield.

The closest the Blue Jays came to another hit was Brett Lawrie's low liner starting the sixth that center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury caught easily.

''He mowed us down,'' said Toronto manager John Gibbons.

Just nine days shy of the fifth anniversary of his no-hitter, Lester finished with five strikeouts and no walks, recording his 10th career complete game on 118 pitches.

''He's one of the better ones in the game,'' Gibbons said. ''Especially as those first few innings go along, from the side, it's tough to tell, but then you look up at the replays and his balls, they're cutting.

''He carved us up pretty good tonight,'' Gibbons said.

Lester outdueled Ramon Ortiz (0-1), who was making his first start since July 10, 2011, with the Chicago Cubs.

While Lester was dominating on one side, Ortiz never wavered on the other, allowing just one run on four hits over five strong innings. He walked five and struck out one.

''He did a tremendous job,'' said Gibbons, adding Ortiz should be in line for another start. ''He did everything and more than we wanted to and expected.''

Despite Lester's brilliance, the Red Sox led just 1-0 through six innings. They scored in the second against Ortiz when Daniel Nava walked, took third on a single by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and scored when shortstop Izturis fielded Middlebrooks' grounder but his throw to start a potential inning-ending double play eluded second baseman Mark DeRosa.

''He just battled the whole time,'' Arencibia said of Ortiz. ''We had probably more opportunities to get out of innings than it even showed. Even for just keeping them at one, there was a lot of times we could have been out of the inning that we didn't get that last out. But he did a great job.''

The Red Sox finally built a comfortable lead with four runs in the seventh.

Singles by Ellsbury and Shane Victorino put runners at first and second and they moved up on a wild pitch by Brett Cecil. Dustin Pedroia singled in a run, but the next two batters struck out. Saltalamacchia then doubled in two runs and Middlebrooks drove in another with his second double of the game.

On May 19, 2008, at Fenway Park, Lester pitched his only no-hitter in a 7-0 win over the Kansas City Royals.

''The no-hitter, perfect game, all that stuff, the stars got to be perfectly aligned for you,'' Lester said.

Friday's outing was the fourth time he allowed just one hit while pitching at least seven innings - and the third time against Toronto.

The other two were over eight innings in a 1-0 win in Boston on April 29, 2008, and seven innings in a 2-0 win at Toronto on April 28, 2010. He also did it against Kansas City in eight innings of a 1-0 win on July 18, 2006.

''I think that's definitely probably the sharpest that I've seen him today attacking us,'' Arencibia said.

NOTES: Toronto designated hitter Rajai Davis left the game with a left oblique strain. Lind pinch hit for him in the sixth. ... Clay Buchholz (6-0) pitches for Boston against Mark Buehrle (1-2) in the second game of the three-game series Saturday. ... Toronto's six-game winning streak at Fenway ended.

Tagged: Red Sox, Blue Jays, Ramon Ortiz, Jon Lester, J.P. Arencibia

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