Duel Cut Short: Cole Hamels Leaves Early, Red Sox Take Advantage To Back Strong Lester

(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

It's never fun to see a player get hurt, and not in very food taste to revel in the advantage gained when the man down belongs to your opponent.

But the X-rays on Cole Hamels' hand came back negative--he's expected to make his next start--and so it seems rather more acceptable to thank our lucky stars that the Sox only had to face him for four innings.

Adrian Gonzalez 0-for-4, but delivered the biggest game changer of the day when he put a good swing on a cutter from Hamels and returned the ball to sender, catching Hamels near his wrist and knocking his glove off. The out was recorded, and Hamels finished the fourth, but when the fifth started it was David Herndon on the mound, and that changed everything.

After all, through four innings both Lester and Hamels had been absolutely dealing, allowing just two baserunners a piece. But with the Phillies' bullpen in, the Red Sox took advantage. Josh Reddick started the fifth-inning rally with a triple to right field, and was followed up by singles from Drew Sutton, Marco Scutaro, and Jacoby Ellsbury, giving the Sox a 2-0 lead after five.

They weren't done, though. A two-out homer from Jason Varitek in the sixth sent Herndon off with a bang in the sixth, and two innings later, Varitek clobbered another one, going back-to-back with Dustin Pedroia to put the Sox up 5-0.

The only real danger Lester faced came in the seventh, when he allowed a couple men to reach with just one out. With his pitch count rising up to 120, though, Lester got Ben Francisco to fly out and then ended the threat by striking out Raul Ibanez on a 3-2 cutter.

Red Sox fans had cause for concern in the ninth when Bobby Jenks proved entirely incapable of closing out the game, giving up a two-run homer to Ryan Howard before walking Shane Victorino. But Jonathan Papelbon came in and quickly shut down the rally to end the game.

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