BOSTON — The Red Sox have scored three runs over their last 18 innings, yet they have two wins to show for it.
The Red Sox, who earned a 1-0 win over the Minnesota Twins in Monday’s series opener at Fenway Park, picked up a 2-1 victory in Tuesday’s middle game. Boston again rode a solid pitching performance to a favorable result despite the offense failing to do much damage.
Jon Lester earned his eighth win of the season Tuesday. The Red Sox will turn to John Lackey in Wednesday’s series finale before heading out West for a seven-game road trip that includes stops in Oakland and Seattle.
Let’s go over some notes from Tuesday.
– The Red Sox announced before the game that outfielder Grady Sizemore was designated for assignment. Third baseman Garin Cecchini was recalled for his second major league stint.
The move to DFA Sizemore was inevitable for a variety of reasons. Red Sox manager John Farrell and GM Ben Cherington both spoke highly of the 31-year-old, though.
– Lester overcame a 33-pitch first inning to work into the seventh. The left-hander surrendered one run on four hits while striking out six and walking one. He threw 109 pitches (72 strikes).
The Red Sox’s bullpen has been busy of late, so it was important for Lester to keep his pitch count down after being forced to work early.
Lester’s sixth and final strikeout moved him into sole possession of fourth place on Boston’s all-time strikeouts list with 1,342. He passed Cy Young — maybe you’ve heard of him.
– Brock Holt, starting in center field for the first time in his career, again served as the catalyst.
Holt singled and scored Boston’s first run in the first inning. He then doubled, stole third base and scored Boston’s second — and eventual winning — run in the third inning.
“It seems like Brock each game has an effect on what’s going on,” Lester said. “Two great at-bats tonight, steals third and produces a run for us. Obviously, another new position tonight and he does a great job. You’d hardly know it was his first time playing center field. I’m sure we’ll see him with catcher’s gear or on the mound at some point this year. The guy’s doing an unbelievable job.”
Holt also made a key defensive play in the third inning after Jonny Gomes lost a fly ball in the twilight.
– The Red Sox’s bullpen got the job done despite Koji Uehara and Andrew Miller being unavailable because of their recent workloads.
Burke Badenhop, Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Edward Mujica combined to nail down the win.
Tazawa struck out the side in the eighth inning and Mujica notched the save in Uehara’s absence.
– Mujica, who got off to a very shaky start this season, has improved of late.
Nine of Mujica’s last 10 appearances have been scoreless. He worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning Tuesday.
“He’s pitched in a variety of roles, whether it’s coming out of a rain delay in Baltimore (or pitching in the) middle innings,” Farrell said. “He’s used his secondary pitches a little bit more, particularly in those early innings. And tonight with the added adrenaline, that’s probably the best velocity we’ve seen all year. Once again, he’s a valued member of that group.”
– Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks continued their rehab assignments at Triple-A Pawtucket. The PawSox’s game was suspended by rain in the fourth inning and will be resumed Wednesday at 5:05 p.m. ET.
Victorino played right field and went 0-for-2, though he reached on an error and scored a run. Middlebrooks served as the designated hitter and went 0-for-2.