He gave up four hits and four walks while whiffing five, lowering his ERA to 2.97. Manny Delcarmen and Joe Nelson finished a game that saw Mike Cameron go 2-for-3 with a walk, three runs scored and two RBIs.
Marco Scutaro also had a fine day at the plate, ripping two doubles and a single in five trips to the plate, driving in two.
Jason Varitek finished the scoring in the eighth by driving a solo shot into the Monster seats. The biggest blast of the game came on David Ortiz's two-run home run into the center field seats, his 11th overall and 10th of the month.
End 9th, 8-1 Red Sox: It's Joe Nelson into the game for the Sox. Since being called up last week, he's already appeared in four games, notching five innings.
He gets Callaspo out on three straight pitches, the last one a great changeup off the outside part of the plate, sinking to the ground.
Varitek takes care of the second out, a pop up in front of the mound by Pena. A strikeout of Betancourt ends the game.
End 8th, 8-1 Red Sox: Dusty Hughes replaces Victor Marte as the Red Sox will — hopefully, at least — bat for the final time this game.
Varitek rudely greets Hughes with his seventh home run of the season. It's a solo shot into the Monster seats.
Hall goes down hacking on a high fastball for the first out.
A deep fly ends Mike Cameron's otherwise stellar night at the plate, and the center fielder is now hitting .277 on the year. Scutaro grounds out, and there's three outs to go in the game.
End 8th, 7-1 Red Sox: Manny Delcarmen is in for the Red Sox.
His first enemy is Mike Aviles and his wiggling bat. MDC wins the battle as Aviles flies out to Drew.
McDonald makes a catch on the warning track in left field for the second out by DeJesus.
Butler is now 2-for-3 in the game with a walk as he lifts a liner just out of Adrian Beltre's reach. He's at second with Jose Guillen at the plate. He whiffs, and Delcarmen gets out of the inning unscathed.
End 7th, 7-1 Red Sox: Big Papi draws a walk to get the bottom 7th started.
Youkilis whisks one to third, and Callaspo's throw to second to begin the double-play is wide.
Aviles comes off the bag and dives for the throw. He scrambles to second and gets leather on the bag just before Ortiz slides in.
Nice play, and that registers one out in the inning with Beltre coming up.
Beltre goes down hacking, bringing up J.D. Drew who needs just one more strikeout for the golden sombrero.
Drew avoids the ignominy as he flies out to center to end the inning.
Mid 7th, 7-1 Red Sox: Lester's out for the seventh and his 90th pitch is a grounder to Beltre by Callaspo.
Beltre gets another chopper, but it was too high and slow and Pena got down the line very well — lightning-fast for a catcher — and now there's one aboard.
Lester goes to a full count on Betancourt and walks him on a borderline pitch. That was pitch No. 100 for the lefty. He averages 109 per game with a season-high of 120. Manny Delcarmen is ready in the bullpen, so the end is near for Lester as Maier steps to the plate.
Maier hacks and grounds to first, advancing the runners to second and third but Youkilis notches the second out of the inning. A deep fly to Mike Cameron by Bloomquist ends the inning, and will certainly end Lester's night. It was a struggle at times, but he limited the Royals to the one run through seven.
End 6th, 7-1 Red Sox: Adrian Beltre grounds out and J.D. Drew is fighting off striking out. Three straight foul balls (and four of five), and this after starting the at-bat up 2-0.
Unfortunately, the next pitch sends Drew walking back to the dugout, head down.
Jason Varitek rips a single to right for his first hit of the game. Bill Hall then lines a rocket to the Monster, so he only comes away with a wallball single.
Mike Cameron's had a good day. He came to the plate 1-for-1 with a walk, double and two runs scored. You can add a double and two RBIs to that now, as he skies one off the top of the Monster in left-center.
Scutaro keeps the good times rolling, dropping in an RBI single. It's Scoot's third hit of the game. That takes care of Brad Thompson.
Victor Marte, who replaced Bruce Chen in the bullpen (with Chen replacing the injured Gil Meche) gets McDonald looking on a 2-2 count to end the inning.
Mid 6th, 4-1 Red Sox: Mike Aviles chops a grounder to Scutaro and Lester has just reached 80 pitches by getting DeJesus into a 0-2 hole.
The Royals have just two hits in the game as DeJesus weakly grounds out to Lester.
Go ahead and make that three hits as Butler singles to center. A grounder to Beltre by Guillen takes care of the sixth.
End 5th, 4-1 Red Sox: Bruce Chen's night is done as Brad Thompson takes the mound. Thompson has a 4.60 ERA in 13 relief appearances.
Bill Hall gets the inning started by turning on a fastball and driving it past a diving Betancourt.
On a full count, Cameron drops a fastball into left field for a double. The order now turns over with a prime opportunity to push some runs across the plate.
Second and third, no out for the hot-hitting Scutaro.
A productive out, as Scutaro hacks a ball into the dirt between the pitcher and first. While the out is recorded by Thompson, Hall scampers home as the Sox take the lead.
Cameron moves to third as McDonald grounds out. Big Papi cranks a home run to straightaway center field and the Red Sox are now up 4-1. It's Big Papi's 11th home run of the year.
A Youkilis grounder ends the frame.
Mid 5th, 1-1: Lester has certainly settled down. He got Yuniesky Betancourt to ground out, whiffed Mitch Maier and then Bloomquist just banged a first-pitch grounder to short. A quick 1-2-3 inning.
End 4th, 1-1: Nice play by third baseman Alberto Callaspo to get Adrian Beltre at first.
J.D. Drew is called out on strikes, and Varitek follows suit with a swinging strikeout.
Chen is dealing — four innings, two walks, five strikeouts and just the lone run.
Mid 4th, 1-1: A quick inning by Lester. Jose Guillen grounded to Bill Hall, followed by Callaspo skying one to Drew. Now, the catcher Brayan Pena grounds to Scoot.
End 3rd, 1-1: Mike Cameron walks and motors to third as Scoot hits his second double of the day off the Green Monster scoreboard. The shortstop is 7-for-14 in the series against the Royals.
McDonald can't get the runner from third home and registers the first out of the inning on a shallow pop-up to center.
David Ortiz takes a tough breaking pitch outside but lifts it deep enough to the outfield to advance both runners. We've got a tie game and Youkilis has a chance to put the BoSox ahead.
A fly to right won't get the job done, but the game is knotted at one apiece.
Mid 3rd, 1-0 Royals: Three straight innings now that the Royals have gotten the leadoff man on.
Mitch Maier drops a ball on the top of the scoreboard on the Green Monster and has no trouble motoring into second for a double.
The lineup flips over for the first time as Bloomquist is back at the plate. He'll ground to Hall at second, moving Maier to third.
Lester seems to be struggling to find his groove as he tries to establish the outside strikezone. He threw three straight balls to Aviles, got a strike but came back to walk him. That puts runners at first and third for DeJesus.
On a 0-1 pitch, DeJesus loses his bat and a fan makes a nifty catch in the stands to claim the prize.
Lester seems to be getting into a groove now as he's started flashing the curveball more frequently. DeJesus goes down by way of the K with Billy Butler following suit, flailing at a 95-mph heater.
End 2nd, 1-0 Royals: Chen is dealing as he registers back-to-back strikeouts of J.D. Drew and Varitek.
Hall will end the inning on a sinking liner to left field.
Mid 2nd, 1-0 Royals: A Billy Butler walk opens the frame, followed by Jose Guillen flying out to McDonald in left.
A ground-rule double from Alberto Callaspo will bring John Farrrell out to the mound for a chit-chat.
KC will draw first blood as Butler trots home on a grounder to short by catcher Brayan Pena, bringing up Yuniesky Betancourt.
And the inning ends on three straight strikes.
End 1st, 0-0: Marco Scutaro bangs a double to continue his streak of hot hitting. He now has a four game hitting streak.
Well, you don't see that often to begin a game, but Darnell McDonald just sac bunted Scutaro to third. Up comes Big Papi.
A walk to Ortiz brings up Kevin Youkilis, who is tied with Ted Williams (1947) for second-most walks in Red Sox history for one month. Youk has 31.
Unfortunately, Youk grabs the opposite of a walk, striking out on a high and outside slider.
Adrian Beltre's .342 batting average was just referred to as "empty" by a Red Sox announcer. Strange, but true. His on-base percentage is just .375 (but he has solid power), so it's all or nothing when he steps to the plate. For the first inning, it'll be nothing as his grounder to third will force Ortiz at second for the last out.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Willie Bloomquist walks to get the game started.
Despite Jon Lester's brilliance recently, control will be one thing to keep an eye on. He walked five batters last time out and struggled with control early in his career.
He's firmed that up over the last couple of years, but is prone to spurts of regression.
Mike Aviles skies one to center for the first out.
The Red Sox are on a roll with throwing out runners lately. Jason Varitek, bedecked in camouflage catcher's gear, puts a pinpoint throw on Marco Scutaro's glove to nab a sprinting Bloomquist.
A 96-mph heater that Lester blows past a befuddled David DeJesus ends the inning.
1:32 p.m.: We're slated to get underway shortly. The BoSox will be wearing their red jerseys and white caps. The 'B' on the cap will be studded with the American flag to celebrate Memorial Day.
The Royals have a similar getup with their caps.
12:25 p.m.: Welcome to the final game of the Kansas City series.
Dustin Pedroia will get a breather, which is not surprising. Manager Terry Francona likes to pair scheduled off-days (Monday) with the previous off-day to allow extended rest.
Pedroia is a good candidate as any, as he has played in 50 of a possible 51 games so far. He's batted .125 in his last 10 games, so a rest will be welcome.
Marco Scutaro, SS
Darnell McDonald, LF
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Jason Varitek, C
Bill Hall, 2B
Mike Cameron, CF
Willie Bloomquist, LF
Mike Aviles, 2B
David DeJesus, RF
Billy Butler, 1B
Jose Guillen, DH
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Brayan Pena, C
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
Mitch Maier, CF
8 a.m.: Leave it up to the Red Sox ace to earn a series split on Sunday at 1:35 p.m.
Jon Lester looks to continue his streak of hot pitching as the Red Sox look to build on their victory Sunday when Clay Buchholz went a sterling seven innings. Lester will do so against Bruce Chen, a journeyman who was called up to serve out of the bullpen a few weeks ago.
With Gil Meche hitting the disabled list, however, Chen's role has changed to that of starter. The left-hander will face his former employers when he toes the hill. Chen pitched 12 1/3 innings for the BoSox in 2003, notching a 5.11 ERA. In 2009, he started nine games and relieved in eight for a 5.78 ERA. In 9 1/3 innings so far on the year, however, his ERA is a sparkling 2.78.