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Game 71: Playing the Nats is nice

While the Nationals may be the worst team in the league, they don't always look like that -- at least on some nights.

The Red Sox knocked off a valiant Nats team tonight, 6-4, behind an OK performance from Jon Lester and a good offensive showing.

Lester logged a "quality start" by going six innings and surrendering just three runs. He gave up six hits, two walks and struck out six. It certainly wasn't one of his best starts on the year, but he kept that lowly Nats offense down. That's good enough for me if that means a win.

The runs came from somewhat unlikely spots. David Ortiz - if you didn't know already - is hot. He hit another dinger tonight. Jason Varitek also had a two-run home run which scored Ortiz. Ortiz's was a three-run shot while Dustin Pedroia singled for the team's first RBI.

The bullpen was pretty good. Justin Masterson gave up one run in 1.2 innings of work, Hideki Okajima allowed a walk (0.1 innings) and Jonathan Papelbon had a spotless 9th to earn the save. It is Papelbon's 17th save of the season.

The series finishes Thursday with a highly-anticipated start from John Smoltz, who is making his Red Sox debut. The Nats will send out Jordan Zimmermann against the future Hall of Famer.