Red Sox 4, Angels 3
The way Jon Lester started out, it looked as though he would get
deep into the game.
He only lasted six innings because of a high pitch count, and
had to sweat it out before Jonathan Papelbon saved another one for
Lester scattered four hits without allowing a run, and the
Boston Red Sox overcame some shaky relief by Matt Albers and Bobby
Jenks to beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-3 on Friday night. The Red
Sox improved to 8-5 following a season-opening six-game losing
streak, making manager Terry Francona’s 52nd birthday a happy
”I had good fastball command early, but it got away from me a
little bit,” said Lester, who struck out his first four batters.
”I nit picked a little bit and got into some deep counts, and
there were a lot of foul balls. I just didn’t get that early
contact that I needed. So unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go real
deep in the game and I just had to grind it out.”
Lester (2-1) struck out eight, walked two and departed with a
4-0 lead after throwing 111 pitches. Boston’s starters have allowed
no more than two earned runs in any of the last seven games, with a
1.19 ERA during that stretch.
”I remember back about the middle of that homestand, somebody
asked me: ‘What’s the best way to get it going?”’ Francona said.
”And I said, ‘A time or two through the rotation and have them
give us a chance every night.’ And that’s exactly what’s
Dan Haren (4-1) allowed four runs, two earned, in six innings.
The right-hander struck out six and walked three en route to his
first loss in 13 starts since Aug. 20 at Minnesota.
”I don’t want to lose, obviously, but the chances were that I
wasn’t going to go 34-0. So it was probably going to happen at some
point,” Haren said. ”It was kind of a weird game. A couple of
balls found holes, so it’s not like it was flying everywhere.”
Albers, activated from the 15-day disabled list Thursday after
missing 11 games with a strained muscle in his back, made his first
appearance since April 5 for the Red Sox and gave up an RBI single
to Jeff Mathis in the seventh.
Jenks surrendered an RBI single in the eighth to Bobby Abreu
that ended an 0-for-15 drought. Abreu got to second on a wild pitch
and came all the way home on a passed ball by Jarrod
Saltalamacchia, but Papelbon pitched a scoreless ninth for his
fifth save in as many attempts.
”As far as consistency, I think Mariano Rivera’s No. 1 on that
list, but Pap has shown over the years that he’s going to be every
bit as good as him,” Angels left fielder Vernon Wells said. ”When
he comes into the game, you know you’ve got your work cut out for
Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis, 3 for 16 lifetime against
Haren, got the night after fouling a pitch off his left shin in the
first inning of Thursday night’s series opener. Francona said
Youkilis would be back in the lineup Saturday night to face Ervin
Saltalamacchia doubled with one out in the third, as nine-time
Gold Glove winner Torii Hunter had trouble making the catch against
the wall in right-center. Saltalamacchia advanced to third after
Hunter caught Marco Scutaro’s flyball near the right-field line,
and Jacoby Ellsbury drove in the game’s first run with a
Manager Mike Scioscia went to the mound and got into a very
animated conversation with Haren before the three-time All-Star
struck out Pedroia to end the inning.
”Mike was a little frustrated, as everyone was,” Haren said.
”We thought some calls weren’t going our way, so we kind of talked
it out and he made sure I stayed focused.”
The Red Sox capitalized on a tough error charged to center
fielder Peter Bourjos to score a pair of unearned runs and increase
their lead to 3-0. After a two-out walk to Jed Lowrie and a double
by J.D. Drew, slumping Carl Crawford followed with a lazy flyball
to short right-center. Bourjos, Hunter and second baseman Howie
Kendrick all converged on it, but no one took charge, and Buorjos
made a last-second lunge at it before the ball hit off his
Drew delivered Boston’s fourth run with an RBI single in the
sixth. The Angels have lost 11 of the last 12 meetings since
sweeping Boston in the 2009 AL division series.
Notes: Haren had allowed only one unearned run over his previous
22 starts since June 28, 2010, when he pitched for Arizona. …
Lester has not allowed a home run in 26 innings over his last four
starts, after giving up three in Boston’s season opener at Texas.
… Lester increased his career strikeouts total to 742, and needs
two more to overtake LHP Lefty Grove for 15th place on the
franchise list. The only lefties in Red Sox history with more
strikeouts than Grove and Lester are Bruce Hurst (1,043) and Dutch
Leonard (771). … This was the second straight start in which
Lester had a 1-2-3 inning with three strikeouts, after not doing so
in 15 straight outings since July 24, 2010. … DH David Ortiz
batted cleanup for the first time this season and was 0 for 4. …
The Red Sox are 5-4 on Francona’s birthday since he took the job,
including a doubleheader sweep in 2009.