Red Sox-Rays Live: Jon Lester Strikes Out 12 As Boston Wins Seventh Straight

Jon LesterFinal, Red Sox 4-0: Koji Uehara did his thing in the ninth inning. The Red Sox have won seven straight.

Brock Holt paced the Red Sox’s offense with four doubles. He collected two RBIs, scored a run and also saw his first action ever at first base.

Jon Lester tossed seven shutout innings to earn his sixth win of the season. Lester struck out 12, walked one and surrendered four hits.

Alex Hassan and Garin Cecchini each picked up their first major league hit. Cecchini’s was an RBI double in the seventh inning.

Dustin Pedroia was ejected before the fourth inning for arguing with home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn. His ejection paved the way for Cecchini’s big league debut.

The Red Sox will begin a nine-game road trip Monday in Cleveland. They’ll certainly be riding high after another solid effort Sunday.

End 8th, Red Sox 4-0: Brock Holt collected his fourth double of the game in the eighth inning.

Holt hit a line drive to left field with two outs. Sean Rodriguez charged in but couldn’t come up with it.

Holt took third on a passed ball.

Xander Bogaerts nearly added two more runs with one swing of the bat by smoking a ball down the left field line. It sailed just foul, though the umpires reviewed the play to make sure.

Bogaerts struck out to end the inning.

Now, it’s Koji time. The Red Sox are three outs away from their seventh straight win.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 4-0: Garin Cecchini’s defense has been described as a “work in progress.” It’s what kept him from being called up earlier this season.

Well, Cecchini’s baseball instincts helped the Red Sox record two big outs in the eighth inning.

Edward Mujica surrendered a single and issued a walk to begin the eighth inning. Evan Longoria then hit a chopper to third base that Cecchini played on an in-between hop before stepping on third base and firing across the diamond for an inning-altering double play.

Brock Holt’s inexperience at first base popped up in the eighth inning. Holt failed to catch Xander Bogaerts’ throw on Jerry Sands’ ground ball.

Holt’s miscue only lengthened the inning one more batter. Mujica struck out Sean Rodriguez looking.

End 7th, Red Sox 4-0: Garin Cecchini made his first major league hit count.

Brock Holt began the bottom of the seventh with a leadoff walk. Holt, who has three doubles, now has been on base four times.

Holt, apparently upset he couldn’t take two bases out of the box, immediately swiped second base.

Cecchini knocked in Holt with a double into the left field corner. It banged off the scoreboard located on the Green Monster.

The Rays opted to intentionally walk David Ortiz, and Alex Hassan worked a free pass with two down to load the bases. Juan Carlos Oviedo escaped the inning without any additional damage by retiring David Ross on a sizzling line drive to third base.

Edward Mujica will take over after seven brilliant innings from Jon Lester.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 3-0:  Jon Lester keeps mowing them down.

Sean Rodriguez led off the inning with a bunt down the third base line. It resulted in a leadoff single for the sputtering Rays offense.

Lester struck out Logan Forsythe, but he plunked James Loney on the kneecap. (It clearly wasn’t intentional, in case you’re some sort of conspiracy theorist.)

Yunel Escobar pinch-hit for Jose Molina. Escobar, who was at the heart of last Sunday’s bench-clearing incident at Tropicana Field, was greeted by a chorus of boos. He then flied out to center field.

Lester struck out Kevin Kiermaier to end the inning. The veteran southpaw now has 12 K’s. His career-high is 15.

End 6th, Red Sox 3-0: Brad Boxberger breezed through the sixth.

David Ross struck out swinging for the first out, and Jonathan Herrera struck out for the third out.

Jackie Bradley Jr. sneaked a flyout between the two K’s.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 3-0: Jon Lester picked up his 10th strikeout in the sixth inning.

Lester struck out Jerry Sands to end the sixth, giving him 19 career double-digit strikeout games.

This marks Lester’s second double-digit strikeout game this season, as he struck out 15 on May 3 against the Oakland Athletics.

The Rays stranded Evan Longoria in scoring position. Longoria singled and took second on a wild pitch.

End 5th, Red Sox 3-0: Garin Cecchini struck out in his first major league at-bat, though he wasn’t exactly given any calls.

The only sign of offense came with two outs when Jonny Gomes walked on five pitches. The Rays turned to their bullpen at that point, calling upon Brad Boxberger.

Boxberger retired Alex Hassan on a ground ball to third base.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 3-0: James Loney connected for a ground-rule double in the fifth inning before Jon Lester wiped his hands clean of another scoreless frame.

All three outs came via strikeouts. The last seven outs recorded have been strikeouts, and Lester now has nine total.

Logan Forsythe, Jose Molina and Kevin Kiermaier went down by way of the K in the fifth inning.

End 4th, Red Sox 3-0: Alex Hassan collected his first major league hit.

It happened in an eventful inning.

Hassan followed Jonny Gomes’ leadoff single with a line drive into center field. The Fenway Faithful gave the local kid a nice ovation, as you’d expect.

Both Gomes and Hassan advanced when David Ross lifted a fly ball to right field. Jackie Bradley Jr. walked to load the bases.

Jonathan Herrera, who had three hits in Saturday’s game, lifted a sacrifice fly to left-center field to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.

Brock Holt added to the lead with his third double of the game. Sean Rodriguez laid out along the left field line but couldn’t make the play. Both Hassan and Bradley scored.

Mid 4th, 0-0: Jon Lester struck out the side in the fourth inning.

Evan Longoria, Jerry Sands and Sean Rodriguez were victimized. All three went down swinging.

Lester has six strikeouts through four innings. He’s been in total control to this point.

End 3rd, 0-0: Brock Holt now has two doubles.

Holt lifted a fly ball down the right field line that dropped and bounced up into the stands for a ground-full double.

The Red Sox couldn’t do anything with the leadoff knock, though.

Xander Bogaerts popped out, Dustin Pedroia grounded out and David Ortiz struck out swinging.

The big news came at the conclusion of the inning, though. Pedroia was ejected for arguing with home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn.

Jonathan Herrera now will move to second base, and Garin Cecchini will make his major league debut down at third base.

Mid 3rd, 0-0: Jon Lester has retired eight in a row.

Lester induced two ground balls in the third inning before striking out Desmond Jennings to end the frame.

Jennings went down swinging, giving Lester three strikeouts so far.

End 2nd, 0-0: The second inning was much cleaner for Erik Bedard, who was forced to escape a bases-loaded jam in the first.

The bottom third of the Red Sox’s order — David Ross, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Jonathan Herrera — didn’t get much going.

Bedard threw 14 pitches while working a scoreless inning.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: Quick inning for Jon Lester.

Logan Forsythe, James Loney and Jose Molina went down in order. Lester needed just seven pitches to get it done.

Forsythe and Molina both grounded out. Loney flied out to left field, where Jonny Gomes successfully battled the sun.

End 1st, 0-0: Welcome to The Show, Alex Hassan.

Hassan’s first at-bat came with the bases loaded and two outs. Unfortunately for the Milton, Mass., native he struck out looking on three pitches.

Brock Holt started the rally and continued his hot streak with a line drive off the Green Monster that resulted in a double.

David Ortiz and Jonny Gomes worked a pair of two-out walks to pack the bags for Hassan before Erik Bedard escaped the jam.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Jon Lester worked around a walk and a single while tossing a scoreless first inning.

Lester started his outing with an impressive strikeout of Ben Zobrist. The left-hander went fastball-curveball-fastball — all looking — to sit Zobrist on three pitches. The second fastball clocked in at 95 mph.

Desmond Jennings walked and Evan Longoria singled into the hole with one out.

Lester bounced back to strike out Jerry Sands. Sean Rodriguez grounded to short for the inning’s final out.

1:39 p.m.: Jon Lester hits the corner with a first-pitch strike.

1:15 p.m.: Sunday’s lineup is an interesting one.

Alex Hassan, a native of Milton, Mass., will make his major league debut. The 26-year-old, who was called up before Friday’s game, will bat sixth and play right field.

Brock Holt, meanwhile, will play first base for the first time in his professional career. The Red Sox are looking to expose Holt to other positions so that they’ll have more ways to get him into the starting lineup once Stephen Drew joins the club, likely Monday in Cleveland.

Sunday’s complete lineups are below.

Boston Red Sox (26-29)
Brock Holt, 1B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Jonny Gomes, LF
Alex Hassan, RF
David Ross, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Jonathan Herrera, 3B

Jon Lester, LHP (5-6, 3.45)

Tampa Bay Rays (23-33)
Ben Zobrst, RF
Desmond Jennings, CF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Jerry Sands, DH
Sean Rodriguez, LF
Logan Forsythe, 2B
James Loney, 1B
Jose Molina, C
Kevin Kiermaier, RF

Erik Bedard, LHP (2-3, 4.10 ERA)

1:10 p.m.: The Red Sox made a roster move Sunday, calling up third base prospect Garin Cecchini and optioning reliever Alex Wilson to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Cecchini will be available off the bench Sunday. Red Sox manager John Farrell called Cecchini a “breath of fresh air” and even compared the 23-year-old to Dustin Pedroia in terms of energy and how he interacts with people.

1 p.m. ET: The Boston Red Sox will look to make it seven straight Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park.

Jon Lester will go up against Erik Bedard as the Red Sox and Rays close out their three-game series. The Sox will head out on a nine-game road trip following Sunday’s tilt, and they’d surely like to do so on a high note after a very successful week.

Lester will face the Rays for the first time since beating them in Game 1 of the ALDS last season. Lester allowed two runs over 7 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts in that start, which marked the beginning of a very impressive postseason run for the left-hander.

Lester enters Sunday’s contest on the heels of earning a win over the Atlanta Braves in his last start. The southpaw allowed three earned runs on eight hits over six innings in that contest as the Red Sox came from behind for a 6-3 victory.

The Red Sox’s seven-game win streak is the longest active win streak in the majors. It’s been magnified because Boston preceded the win streak with a 10-game losing streak that kicked the club to the basement of American League East.

Sunday’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. Be sure to tune in on NESN, and keep it right here with NESN.com’s live blog.

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