Final, Red Sox 7-4: The Blue Jays didn’t have any ninth-inning magic in them. Koji Uehara recorded a 1-2-3 inning, and the Red Sox take the series opener.
The Red Sox’ offense exploded for seven runs in the second inning off Chien-Ming Wang, and Boston cruised to a 7-4 victory.
Jon Lester was solid for the most part, although his night took a turn when he exited in the eighth inning with an apparent injury. It’s unclear what exactly happened to Lester, but he seemed to come off the mound awkwardly after throwing a pitch. (Stay tuned with NESN.com for more details.)
The Red Sox’ second-inning outburst began with two walks. It was capped by a two-run homer from Dustin Pedroia.
Lester surrendered four runs on five hits over seven innings. He struck out five, walked three and threw 94 pitches (58 strikes) before exiting in the eighth inning. Overall, it was a step in the right direction from a performance standpoint, and he now has back-to-back wins.
The Red Sox and Blue Jays will go head-to-head again on Friday. Allen Webster and Josh Johnson will be matched up, and the game is scheduled to go down at 7:10 p.m.
Good night, everyone.
End 8th, Red Sox 7-4: Jarrod Saltalamacchia smoked a two-out double off the wall in left-center, but Stephen Drew struck out swinging and we’ll head to the ninth inning with the Red Sox’ lead at three runs.
Koji Uehara, who picked up his first save since taking over as Boston’s closer on Wednesday, will pitch the ninth inning.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 7-4: The Blue Jays struck for two runs after Junichi Tazawa took over for Jon Lester.
Tazawa entered with Emilio Bonifacio ahead in the count, 3-0, and his first pitch was a ball. That loaded the bases, and the walk was charged to Lester.
Jose Reyes knocked in Toronto’s third run with a sacrifice fly to center field.
After a wild pitch allowed Maicer Izturis to advance to third base and Bonifacio to advanced to second, Jose Bautista grounded out to Stephen Drew at short. That gave Tazawa his second out, but it also plated Toronto’s fourth run.
Edwin Encarnacion, batting with a runner on third, threatened to do some more damage. He ripped a line drive to deep left field, but Daniel Nava ran back to make a nice leaping grab on the edge of the warning track.
Both runs in the inning were charged to Lester, who surrendered four runs on five hits over seven innings before departing in the eighth with an apparent injury. It’s unclear what exactly happened to Lester, but he came off the mound rather awkwardly after his 2-0 pitch to Bonifacio.
9:19 p.m., Red Sox 7-2: Something appears to be wrong with Jon Lester.
Lester gave up back-to-back singles to Rajai Davis and Maicer Izturis to begin the eighth inning. He then fell behind Emilio Bonifacio. On the third pitch to Bonifacio, Lester came off the mound rather awkwardly, and he’ll leave in the middle of the at-bat.
Junichi Tazawa will take over for the Red Sox as the Blue Jays look to make noise in the eighth.
End 7th, Red Sox 7-2: The Red Sox’ offense made its first real noise since the second inning, but Brett Cecil picked up a big strikeout to keep the score the same.
Jose Iglesias struck out swinging on a pitch down to begin the inning, and Jacoby Ellsbury popped out into foul territory along the third base line three pitches later.
Shane Victorino tried to kick off a two-out rally, though. Victorino banged a double down the left field line.
Dustin Pedroia then earned a two-out walk to put runners at first and second for David Ortiz. Cecil battled back after falling behind Pedroia 3-0, but Pedey laid off a 3-2 curveball in the dirt to work the walk.
Ortiz couldn’t cash in with runners on. He struck out swinging on a pitch down and away. (The slugger was visibly frustrated with himself.)
Jon Lester will come back out to pitch the eighth inning.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 7-2: The Blue Jays’ bullpen has pitched well since the Red Sox knocked around starter Chien-Ming Wang for seven runs in the second inning. Jon Lester is keeping Toronto’s bats from making a run, though.
Lester twirled a very quick top of the seventh inning. He threw just seven pitches, as he needed just two pitches to record the final two outs.
Mark DeRosa struck out to begin the inning. Lester featured a heavy dose of offspeed stuff during the at-bat, and he ended up getting DeRosa out in front of a changeup in the dirt to finish off the strikeout.
Melky Cabrera flied out to right field for the second out, and J.P. Arencibia popped out in the infield for the third out.
End 6th, Red Sox 7-2: Juan Perez has done a very nice job since taking over.
Perez tossed a 1-2-3 inning in the sixth and made it look easy. The Red Sox’ bats have been silenced since breaking out for seven runs in the second inning.
Daniel Nava began the sixth with a harmless ground ball to short, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed with an easily handled ground ball to third.
Perez finished the inning by striking out Stephen Drew, who fanned on a slider down.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 7-2: Jon Lester needed to rebound in the sixth inning. He did just that.
Lester, who gave up two runs on three hits in the fifth inning, bounced back to record a 1-2-3 frame.
Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista grounded out to third base and second base, respectively, before Lester capped off the inning with a strikeout.
Lester got locked into a seven-pitch battle with Edwin Encarnacion, who ran the count full. The southpaw eventually emerged victorious by pulling the string on a 3-2 changeup.
Lester, who has thrown 77 pitches (48 strikes), has four strikeouts total.
End 5th, Red Sox 7-2: The Red Sox went down easily in the fifth inning as the Blue Jays’ bullpen continues to do a solid job.
Dustin Pedroia and Mike Carp each grounded out in the inning, while David Ortiz struck out.
Ortiz went down looking on a pitch up high. It looked like a questionable call, but home plate umpire Mike Everitt ruled that it caught the top of the strike zone.
FYI, there’s been some mist falling at Fenway.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 7-2: Jon Lester gave up both his first hit and first run in the fifth inning. In fact, he gave up two runs on three hits.
Mark DeRosa struck out swinging before Melky Cabrera broke up Lester’s no-hit bid with a single into center field.
J.P. Arencibia skied a fly ball to center field for the second out, but Rajai Davis also connected on a single to put runners at first and second with two outs for Maicer Izturis.
Izturis put Toronto on the scoreboard by drilling a double into the left-center field gap.
Lester has been effective throughout this game, but it’ll be important for him to bounce back in the sixth inning after the rocky fifth. The Red Sox still lead by five runs, but given the potency of the Blue Jays’ lineup, Boston can’t afford to give Toronto any momentum.
End 4th, Red Sox 7-0: Juan Perez was the new Toronto pitcher in the fourth inning. He took care of business.
Jose Iglesias led off with a sharp liner to second base that Emilio Bonifacio ranged over and snagged.
Jacoby Ellsbury struck out swinging for the second out. He was fed a heavy dose of sliders and sinkers before going down hacking at a pitch with some good downward movement.
Shane Victorino grounded down the third base line with two outs. Maicer Izturis charged in, made the play and chucked a strong throw to first to beat Victorino by a step.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 7-0: The Red Sox are doing everything well in this game.
Jose Reyes led off the fourth inning with a slow, broken-bat grounder to short. While Jon Lester jumped out of the way of the shattered lumber, Stephen Drew charged in to make a barehanded play. Drew tossed a strong throw to first base in time to retire the speedy Reyes.
Jose Bautista then walked, but a good-looking double play ended the inning. Drew fielded a ground ball off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion and flipped to second, at which point Dustin Pedroia made a strong throw while avoiding the runner and tumbling to the ground.
End 3rd, Red Sox 7-0: Aaron Loup settled things down in the third inning after the Red Sox exploded for seven runs in the second.
Emilio Bonifacio had himself a busy frame, picking up two assists as part of Loup’s perfect inning.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a fly ball with one down in the inning that center fielder Rajai Davis had a tough time handling. Davis ran back onto the warning track before having to come back in to make the grab.
Jose Bautista had a similarly hard time handling a high fly ball in the second inning. Davis at least recovered in time to make a play, though.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 7-0: Jon Lester didn’t let the long inning ruin his groove.
Lester enjoyed his second straight 1-2-3 inning. The second inning required nine pitches. The third inning required seven pitches.
Rajai Davis and Emilio Bonifacio grounded to Stephen Drew at shortstop for the first out and third out, respectively.
In between the two groundouts, Lester struck out Maicer Izturis. Lester delivered back-to-back called strikes before putting Izturis away with the cutter.
End 2nd, Red Sox 7-0: It doesn’t appear the Red Sox are buying into the sudden hype surrounding the Blue Jays. Boston posted seven runs in the second inning — five before an out was recorded.
Chien Ming-Wang immediately put himself into trouble by walking David Ortiz and Mike Carp to lead off the inning. The Red Sox started cranking out hits from there.
Daniel Nava planted a ball off the left field wall that scored Ortiz with the game’s first run, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia nearly took Wang’s head off with an RBI single into center field.
Stephen Drew then lifted a fly ball to right field that Jose Bautista — for one reason or another — had a hard time handling. Bautista drifted back toward the warning track, but he backtracked too far. He ended up having to dive in, and the ball dropped in front of him. Nava scored, Saltalamacchia advanced to third base and Drew ended up on third base on what was (somehow) ruled a double.
Jose Iglesias pulled his usual antics to knock in Boston’s fourth run. He hit a ground ball into the hole at short that resulted in yet another infield single.
Jacoby Ellsbury knocked in Boston’s fifth run with a single into center before Wang finally recorded an out. Shane Victorino grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
Wang wasn’t in the clear, though. Dustin Pedroia launched a two-run blast into the Monster Seats, which prompted John Gibbons to make an early pitching change.
Aaron Loup took over for Wang. Ortiz greeted him with a single before Carp struck out to (finally) end the inning.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Jon Lester needed just nine pitches to take down the Blue Jays in the second inning.
Lester needed one pitch to record the first out. Mark DeRosa grounded a ball between shortstop and third base that Stephen Drew fielded on the back hand upon charging in. Drew fired a strong throw to first base to complete the out.
Jose Iglesias then decided it was his turn to flash some leather. Melky Cabrera smoked a line drive down to third base, and Iglesias made a nice lunging grab for the second out.
Lester finished off the speedy frame by striking out the free-swinging J.P. Arencibia. Arencibia went down hacking at a 94-mph fastball.
End 1st, 0-0: Chien-Ming Wang enjoyed an easy first inning.
Wang sat down Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia in order.
Ellsbury and Victorino each grounded down to first base, while Pedroia grounded up the middle.
Shortstop Jose Reyes made a nice, rangy play on Pedroia’s base-hit bid. He showed off his speed and his arm while throwing out Pedey to end the inning.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Jon Lester delivered a first-pitch strike, but he then struggled a little bit to find the strike zone.
Lester walked Jose Reyes, which is always dangerous given the infielder’s blazing speed. The southpaw then fell behind Jose Bautista 3-0 before battling back to retire the slugger on a flyout to left field.
Lester avoided any first-inning damage by getting Edwin Encarnacion to ground into an inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play.
7:11 p.m.: Jon Lester’s first pitch is a strike, and we’re underway.
6:52 p.m.: We’ve got overcast skies at Fenway, and there has been some mist throughout the late-afternoon and early-evening. We’re looking OK in the precipitation dept. right now, though.
5:13 p.m.: Mike Napoli will receive the night off. John Farrell said that it’s a matchup decision, and Mike Carp will replace Napoli in the Red Sox’ lineup.
Thursday’s complete lineups are below.
Red Sox (47-33)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Carp, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Stephen Drew, SS
Jose Iglesias, 3B
Jon Lester, LHP (7-4, 4.57 ERA)
Blue Jays (39-38)
Jose Reyes, SS
Jose Bautista, RF
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B
Mark DeRosa, DH
Melky Cabrera, LF
J.P. Arencibia, C
Rajai Davis, CF
Maicer Izturis, 3B
Emilio Bonifacio, 2B
Chien-Ming Wang, RHP (1-0, 2.18 ERA)
5:02 p.m.: Clay Buchholz’s MRI results are back, and there is no structural damage. The right-hander is in the midst of a 2-3-day shutdown period, though, as he has some inflammation that needs to subside before continuing a throwing program.
8 a.m. ET: The Blue Jays are back in Boston, and they look like a whole different team.
The Jays enter Thursday’s series opener against the Red Sox having won 15 of their last 19 contests since June 5. That includes a major league-high 11-game win streak from June 11-23. Suddenly, Toronto is just 6 1/2 games back of Boston in the American League East.
A big reason for the Blue Jays’ turnaround has been their pitching. The Jays have an ML-best 2.46 ERA in June, and when you couple that with Toronto’s potent lineup, you get a squad that’s finally living up to its lofty expectations.
Chien-Ming Wang will toe the rubber for Toronto on Thursday. He’ll go up against Jon Lester, who won his last start despite another shaky outing. Lester only has one win since May 15, and his ERA has ballooned all the way up to 4.57. He’ll have his work cut out for him against the Jays, who lead the majors with 33 multi-home run games.
Thurday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Tune in on NESN, and follow along right here.