Jul 23, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester (31) pitches during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Lester Steps Further In The Right Direction, Sox Beat Rays

After starting the season 6-0, Jon Lester would 2-6 for the remainder of the first half. Two out of his three starts in the month of July were a step in the right direction, especially in comparison to his awful month in June (2-2 7.62 ERA). Nevertheless, manager John Farrell opted to push Lester to the fifth slot in the rotation order to start the second half. It was important that Lester continue to step in the right direction.

He didn’t disappoint.

In a game that had first place in the AL East on the line, Lester would go six and one-third innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits while striking out eight and walking none. The Red Sox would go on to win 6-2.

The two runs Lester allowed were both solo home runs by Wil Myers and Evan Longoria. It also would’ve been good had he gone a little deeper into the game. But it was really encouraging to see him coming after batters without allowing a free pass.

The Red Sox offense finally pulled away in the eighth. David Ortiz grounded out to start the inning. Mike Napoli followed with a double. Jonny Gomes (who came in the top of the eighth as a defensive replacement for Mike Carp) followed with a single, advancing Napoli to third. Stephen Drew came up in a big spot next with an RBI single. Jose Iglesias would follow with a two RBI single of his own, but would advance to third after a throwing error by Yunel Escobar.

After relieving Lester in the sixth inning, Matt Thornton, Junichi Tazawa, and Koji Uehara would combine for a perfect two and two thirds innings pitched with five strikeouts.

The win puts the Red Sox lead back to one and a half games over the Rays. A win tomorrow would assure the Sox ending the series with a lead no worse than that. Felix Doubront opposes David Price in game three of this four game set tomorrow night.

Tags: AL East Boston Red Sox Tampa Bay Rays

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