Lester, Ortiz Lead Charge Back Into First Place
Tomorrow’s makeup game against the Rays will not be quite as important as it could have been. Entering today, the Red Sox were just one half game back from those same Rays and a loss on Monday could potentially have pushed them back further. However, the Yankees walked off to edge the Rays today and the Red Sox played a great overall game to topple the Orioles 5-0, take the series in Baltimore, and reclaim possession of first place.
Jul 28, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcherJon Lester
(31) throws in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
For the fourth time in his last five starts, Jon Lester was on top of his game on the mound. However, today’s game was one of his most dominant of the season and he set down the Orioles over seven shutout innings. Over those seven frames, he allowed four hits and walked two while whiffing eight batters to improve his record to 10-6 and his ERA to 4.27 on the season.
Offensively, the Red Sox got going early and never really looked back. A first inning walk and single set up first and third with two outs for Mike Napoli. Continuing to break out of his prolonged slump, the slugging first baseman drove the ball to right to score a run and put the Red Sox on top 1-0. After a scoreless second inning, the Red Sox kept the barrage going in the third with a two-run, opposite field home run off the bat of David Ortiz, who had a huge day after his ejection last night, going 4-4.
Orioles starter Jason Hammel was alright for the rest of his outing, as the Red Sox did not score again until the eighth inning. That was when the Red Sox loaded the bases with one out and a right-handed-hitting Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove a grounder by the diving Brian Roberts at second base to give the Red Sox a 5-0 lead. The Red Sox got shutout innings by Matt Thornton and Pedro Beato to close out the game and series in Baltimore.