The score of Friday night's game against the Rays seems to speak to the strong pitching matchup promised by a showdown between Jon Lester and David Price. And, indeed, the two pitchers delivered an impressive seven inning duel. But this game was all about one player. Twice.
While the rest of the Red Sox lineup was being held scoreless thanks to clutch outs from David Price, Victor Martinez was having himself a field day off the young lefty. Martinez got the Red Sox on the board early with a long ball to left field, singled in the fifth inning, and then again took Price deep in the seventh, scoring two of the Red Sox' three runs without any help.
While the Sox did add another run thanks to a Jed Lowrie RBI in the fourth, they wouldn't need anything beyond what Martinez gave them thanks to an unusual but effective outing from Jon Lester. While the Red Sox ace tied a season high with five walks, he held the Rays to just a pair of singles and struck out ten batters. The only run the Rays managed to push across came as a result of sloppiness, with an errant throw from Scutaro and a pair of wild pitches allowing Jason Bartlett to score a run that shouldn't have been.
Though Papelbon was shaky in closing out the game thanks to a pair of walks, he struck out the side in the ninth, and Bard contributed a strikeout in his scoreless inning to give the Red Sox 14 total strikeouts in their 3-1 win.
With every game of this series being absolutely must win, the Sox have taken down Tampa Bay's best pitcher. Tomorrow's matchup isn't much less interesting, as Matt Garza faces the American League ERA leader in Clay Buchholz.