Prior to the win, Boston was 1-5 with three straight losses at the Trop in 2009, but that all changed when Jon Lester took the mound on Tuesday in search of his 11th win. He got it after throwing six innings of seven-hit, two run ball with nine strikeouts. Tampa got both its runs courtesy of Carlos Pena — one on a single in the first and one on a solo shot in the fourth.
The win was Boston’s fourth straight, and nobody was more pleased than Francona.
“He’s got that cutter that’s powerful,” the manager told NESN’s Heidi Watney. “Besides the two balls he left over the middle of the plate — and he paid for both of them — he [was] so strong.”
Francona was even more impressed with closer Jonathan Papelbon, who entered a bases-loaded situation in the eighth inning and somehow emerged with a perfect six-out save.
“With the bases loaded, you’re just hoping to get out of that and keep the lead,” Francona said. “And then he’s able to go out and pitch the ninth. That was a very impressive outing.”
Not so impressive? Tampa’s pitching staff. Starter Andy Sonnanstine left after four innings, leaving the bulk of the work to the bullpen. The Rays ran through seven relievers, which means Matt Garza has no choice but to last on Wednesday.
Good news for the Red Sox.
You can watch Francona’s full postgame interview here:
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