Every year, Jon Lester seems to have a "turnaround" game. He starts the season slow, dominates one game, and then he's the ace we expect the rest of the way.
Maybe today was the day? 7 shutout innings, 1 hit, 11 strikeouts, 2 walks in a 2-0 win. Hard to argue with that.
Lester was actually a little shaky early, walking the leadoff hitter and giving up a loud double to Vernon Wells in the second. He gave up a few 3-0 counts, and didn't seem to have his best stuff. From the 3rd inning on, though, he was untouchable.
With Lester going 7 innings, the Red Sox were finally able to avoid the shaky portions of the bullpen. Daniel Bard came out in the 8th, and after giving up a leadoff double to Alex Gonzalez, struck out the next 3 batters on 15 pitches. Papelbon closed it out with a 1-2-3 9th, including the team's 15th strikeout on a good slider.
The offense was not all there tonight, managing only 9 baserunners on the day. Darnell McDonald played the hero yet again, scoring the first run on a Dustin Pedroia sacrifice fly in the 6th, and knocking home the second one in the 7th. Adrian Beltre and Marco Scutaro each pitched in with two hits of their own.
The win brings the Red Sox back up to .500 for the first time since they went to 4-4 after a victory over the Twins on the 14th.