Going into tonight’s first of four against a smokin’ hot Toronto Blue Jays team (12 wins in their last 14 attempts), ailing patient Jon Lester would need as much help as he could get. Boston’s offense was just what the doctor ordered.
In the bottom of the second, Blue Jays starter Chien-Ming Wang was beaten senseless by 12 Boston hitters. He needed 33 pitches to record his first out of the inning. In the meantime he walked two batters gave up three hits and the Jays committed an error that allowed the Sox to go up 3-0. It didn’t stop there.
The pounding continued when Jose Iglesias‘ high hopper to Jose Reyes left Reyes with no play. Iglesias’ infield hit was his 15th of the season as he continued to confound critics and match Dustin Pedroia‘s infield hit total with 191 fewer at bats. Iggy’s hit scored Jarrod Saltalamacchia. It was another in a string of productive at bat. Something’s happening here.
Jacoby Ellsbury‘s base hit up the middle scored Stephen Drew to make it 5-0 Sox. Pedroia capped the second inning beat down and Wang’s very short 1.2 innings of work with a two run homer to put Boston up 7-0. By the time Mike Carp struck out to end the inning Boston has sent 12 men to the plate and Toronto was in a major hole of which they were never able to dig out.
For the remainder of the contest it surely looked like the fix was in. It all went wrong for the Blue Jays and all went right for the Sox. Boston looked sharp in the field despite the drizzle and mist, turning two double plays before the fourth inning was over. Lester pounded the strike zone better than his last, oh well, seven starts. Yes, he was touched up for two runs in the fifth when Melky Cabrera and Rajai Davis singled then scored on a Maicer Izturis double but he still looked strong and in command.
Quick observation; Rajai Davis has got to be the fastest human being in the majors. Izturis’ double wasn’t a monster shot. Daniel Nava got to it quickly and threw to the infield efficiently. Still, there wasn’t even the thought of a play at the plate as Davis motored first to home standing up while barely breaking a sweat. Impressive.
The Red Sox and Lester had the magic all night – that is until the 8th inning. Lester labored and it was clear John Farrell should have taken him out in the seventh. Lester gave up back-to-back singles to Davis and Izturis. When Lester went 3-0 to Emilio Bonafacio, he pulled up awkwardly and looked down at his feet. Salty was quick to get Farrell and the trainers out to the mound. Lester left the mound limping with an unspecified injury although early indications pointed to his right hip.
Junichi Tazawa walked Bonafacio (inherited from Lester), which brought Reyes to the plate with the bases loaded and nobody out. Reyes lined out to Ellsbury to score Davis. Tazawa bounced the next pitch to the backstop. Blue Jay runners advanced and were a hit away from being right back in it.
Jose Bautista grounded out to Drew to score Izturis and the wild pitch loomed large since the grounder to Drew would have been and easy inning ending double play. Nava made a leaping grab in left field off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion to end the inning but the Jays had pulled to within three runs after being dead in the water early on.
Koji Uehara shut down the Jays during a 1, 2, 3 ninth to notch his third save of the season in as many attempts. It was a solid win against a team playing very good baseball. It was entertaining and didn’t drain away the entire evening. At 2:34, the game nearly broke the world land speed record. Now the waiting game begins to see what’s physically wrong with Lester.