BOSTON — The Red Sox are back to being within one game of reaching the .500 mark.
The Red Sox fell to 13-16 following a doubleheader sweep against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, but Boston has responded to the adversity by winning back-to-back games over the Oakland Athletics.
Jon Lester was absolutely sensational Saturday as the Red Sox earned a 6-3 victory over the A’s. He wasn’t the only bright spot, though, so let’s look at what else went down at Fenway Park.
– Lester struck out a career-high 15 batters over eight shutout innings. He surrendered just one hit and walked two in one of the Red Sox’s best pitching performances in years.
Lester, who now has 18 career starts with at least 10 strikeouts, tied Scott Kazmir for the second-most double-digit strikeout games by an American League lefty since 2006 — trailing only CC Sabathia (28).
“That was a lot of fun,” catcher David Ross said. “When a guy’s doing what he was doing today, it’s fun to be a catcher. Just moving the ball in and out. He was a lot of fun to catch.”
– Lester’s strong effort was just the latest in a stretch of solid starting pitching for the Red Sox. Boston’s starters have given up three earned runs or less in 10 of their last 11 games dating back to April 22.
The Red Sox have notched 21 quality starts this season, tying them with the A’s for the most in the AL.
– Jonny Gomes’ first-inning grand slam set the tempo for Saturday’s victory. It was the Red Sox’s third grand slam in seven games and the fifth of Gomes’ career.
– David Ortiz and David Ross also went deep for Boston.
The Red Sox’s three home runs are their most in a single game since hitting three on Sept. 27, 2013, against the Baltimore Orioles.
– Ortiz’s home run was his 379th as a member of the Red Sox, tying him with Dwight Evans for fourth place on Boston’s all-time list.
– Dustin Pedroia ripped his team-leading 11th double. He’s hitting .310 (22-for-71) over his last 17 games.
– Mike Napoli drew a fifth-inning walk, extending his career-high on-base streak to 26 games.
– Things got a little dicey in the ninth inning. Chris Capuano, who hadn’t surrendered a run in 15 innings this season, was charged with three runs (two earned) while failing to record an out.
Koji Uehara entered to record the save after Capuano struggled.
– The Red Sox had Edward Mujica warming up in the bullpen before the ninth inning, but the right-hander felt some oblique discomfort that prevented him from pitching.
“Right now, when I take a deep breath, I feel a little pinch in there,” Mujica told reporters. “I’ve never felt that before. I don’t know. Something weird I feel, so I needed to talk to the trainers and see what they’re going to do and what they expect.”
It’s unclear whether Mujica will require a disabled list stint. Manager John Farrell said the Red Sox will check on the reliever Sunday.