For the second consecutive night, the Boston Red Sox were given the task to try and defeat a starting pitcher that led the Majors in ERA. Yesterday, they took down Jered Weaver (0.99 ERA leading into Monday). Tonight, they were able to do it to righty Dan Haren.
Jon Lester came into Tuesday night's game with a 3-1 record with a 2.52 ERA. He had won his previous three outings while surrendering only three earned runs in that span. Lester and Haren faced off against each other back on April 22 in a tight pitching duel. While Lester ended up outlasting Haren, he had to pitch six shutout innings in order to collect the win.
This time around, Lester found himself being outpitched early. After getting the first two hitters by the way of the strikeout and flyout, Lester served up a solo homerun to Mark Trumbo (who is he?). It was quickly 1-0, Angels. While that was Lester's only blemish, he was still being outpitched by Haren.
Haren was able to get back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in the first and second against the Sox offense before Carl Crawford finally got Boston in the hit column, collecting career hit number 1,500. Despite that, Haren was able to limit the Sox offense to just two hits and zero runs through five innings.
The Sox were trailing 1-0 heading into the sixth inning and could not solve Haren. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a one-out double down the right field line off Haren. After a Dustin Pedroia strikeout, in stepped Adrian Gonzalez. In a season where we've been frustrated about how many men we've left in scoring position, the Red Sox came up clutch. Gonzalez was able to take Haren's first pitch into left field to drive in Ellsbury, tying the score at one. After a David Ortiz single to get Gonzalez to third, Jed Lowrie stepped in and delivered yet another two-out RBI to drive in Gonzalez, making it 2-1 Sox.
With Haren still out there, the two guys that Red Sox fans have been frustrated with the most stepped up to the plate in the seventh inning: Carl Crawford and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. This time, they did not disappoint. Crawford led off the frame with a single, collecting his third consecutive two-hit game. Saltalamacchia then stepped in and drilled a wall-ball double off the Green Monster that was able to plate Crawford all the way from first base. 3-1 Red Sox.
With the lead in hand, Lester would shut down the Angels until finally exiting before the eighth. Lester went seven innings, giving up the single run and striking out eleven Angels hitters. While Lester's night was over, the Red Sox offense was not quite done.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia decided to leave Haren in to begin the eigth, which turned out to be the wrong decision for Los Angeles. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez drilled a low Haren cutter into the right field bullpen area for his first homerun at Fenway Park and his second of the year. While Scioscia was right to then pull Haren, but he brought in the wrong guy to replace him. The second pitch that new pitcher Hisanori Takahashi threw was crushed by David Ortiz around the pesky pole for a solo home run. The Sox still weren't done, however, as Jed Lowrie reached with a single to right field with just one out. Marco Scutaro then tucked a pitch into the Monster seats for a two-run home run, his first of the year. 7-1 Red Sox
Jonathan Papelbon came on in a non-save situation and surrendered two runs off of a Maicer Izturis ground rule double that plated Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells, who reached earlier. But Papelbon was able to get the the next three hitters, stranding Izturis and securing a 7-3 Red Sox win.