March 26, 2012; Clearwater, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester (31) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Networks Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
Now that's the Jon Lester we know and love.
Throwing seven shutout innings Monday, Lester dispelled the worries brought on by a disappointing spring training with one of the more dominant outings of his career.
Starting things off with a strikeout of Jimmy Rollins, Lester rolled through to the third before facing any significant trouble. Still, he was saved from the damage of a run by a strong throw and relay from left field by Cody Ross and Jose Iglesias to catch a baserunner at home.
Lester would also hit Rollins with a pitch later in the third, but from there on was perfect, retiring the final 13 batters he faced. With deceptive breaking balls getting Philadelphia batters to swing out of the zone and his usual cutter running in on righties for strikes and bad swings alike, Lester rolled through the seventh, striking out ten men while allowing just three baserunners on the day.
The Red Sox were no slouches at the plate today, either. Dustin Pedroia set the tone with a first inning home run to right field to make it 1-0, and a couple hits mixed in with an error let them go up 2-0 in the second. While Philadelphia starter Joe Blanton would settle down for the next couple frames, the Sox got to him again in the fifth with David Ortiz singling home Lars Anderson, and then scoring himself on Cody Ross' two-run blast to left.