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Jon Lester, Middle of the Order Dominate Orioles In 9-3 Win

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With Dustin Pedroia and Victor Martinez out, the remaining all-star starters are doing their best to pick up the slack.

David Ortiz went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a walk. Kevin Youkilis had a double and a homer. And J.D. Drew had three hits of his own, tacking on another double and walk. With a few other hits from the rest of the lineup--most importantly a pair from last night's hero Daniel Nava--the Red Sox put up nine runs on Jeremy Guthrie and Frank Mata.

Not that Jon Lester would need that much. After a tough first where he was saved only by Youkilis stretching all the way out to snag an errant double play throw with the bases loaded, Lester struck out five of the next nine batters he faced, not allowing another baserunner until Matt Wieters lead off the fifth inning with a double. Wieters would score in the inning, but that would be the lone run Lester would allow in seven innings of work. The Cy Young contender struck out seven, allowing five hits and walking only one in yet another dominant display. Ramon Ramirez held the O's scoreless in the eighth before Robert Manuel gave up an instant replay homer off the ledge in front of the Monster seats, but the game was well in hand by then.

The Red Sox finish the first half of the season with a record of 49-32, a winning percentage of .604, and just a half game behind the Yankees. Not bad for a team that started out well below .500.

John Lackey takes on Brian Matusz tomorrow as the beat up Red Sox look to win their fourth game since Victor Martinez hit the disabled list.