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Crisis Averted: Red Sox Dodge Sweep Thanks To Ellsbury, Gonzalez, And Lester

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Thanks to an eight inning effort from Jon Lester and six hits between Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez, the Red Sox will return home to Fenway Park with a win at their backs.

That might be more important than it sounds, if only for purposes of momentum and image. Any Red Sox team can lose two-of-three to the Orioles once in a while. Getting swept, however, brings up too many memories of 0-6 and 2-10. 

Despite some early inning struggles, the Sox received their first quality start of the series from Jon Lester. It didn't seem like he was ever really comfortable on the mound, struggling with his landing spot on occasion and having difficulty finding the outside part of the plate, too often letting pitches wander well outside the strike zone.

The results are some underwhelming peripherals, but in many ways this was just a start that Lester got through, knuckling down and making the Orioles beat him instead of letting him beat himself. And while Vlad Guerrero rose to the challenge, tattooing a home run off of Lester in the sixth, the rest of the lineup was not, simply grounding out time and again.

The team's offense, meanwhile, was coming almost exclusively from the top of the lineup. And, really, mostly from Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez. It was this combo that provided the Sox with their first run with a pair of doubles in the first inning, and then their second with a pair of singles in the third inning. Dustin Pedroia chipped in with a two-out single scoring Carl Crawford after he led the inning off with a double, but neither of his hits on the night so much as made it past the mound.

The Sox really broke the game open in the eighth inning, though. Entering the frame with a 3-2 lead, the first four baserunners reached for the Sox, culminating in an RBI single from Jarrod Saltalamacchia. After the next two batters were sat down, it was, fittingly, Jacoby Ellsbury finishing off he offensive night that he had started back in the first, blooping his third hit into the outfield for a two-RBI single. Jonathan Papelbon came in despite the non-save nature of the situation, and quickly sat the Orioles down in order to seal the deal.