Not only was it over 100 degrees in Arlington. Not only was he facing the high-powered Rangers. Not only was he given almost no run support for the sixth straight time. Lester also had to give his team innings with both Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard out of the mix.
It was a remarkably clutch performance that has the Red Sox in pretty good shape entering the finale of the road trip, all things considered.
"They have a real dangerous lineup and he was determined. And he needed to be," Terry Francona said.
Boston will hope to see similar determination from Daisuke Matsuzaka in Sunday's series finale. Temperatures should be well over 100 so we'll see how he and the rest of the crew responds. First pitch is 3:05 p.m.
Final, Red Sox 3-1: A questionable base running decision by Vladimir Guerrero helps Felix Doubront pick up his first career save as the Red Sox secure a monstrous victory.
On a night that Tampa Bay and New York already won, Jon Lester goes eight scoreless innings in a clutch performance.
As bad as those two straight losses were the Sox are now 5-4 on a very difficult road trip.
Back in a bit to wrap it up.
10:59 p.m.: Scott Atchison cannot get the job done. He gives up a solo homer to Josh Hamilton and an infield single to Vladimir Guerrero with one out. With the tying run up in the form of rookie Mitch Moreland, Terry Francona is calling on Felix Doubront for the last two outs.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 3-0: A poorly played bunt and a dropped fly ball in center help the Red Sox tack on two huge insurance runs. They leave the bases loaded when David Ortiz grounds into the shift.
10:42 p.m. Darren O'Day entered having thrown 26 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings. Consecutive hits by Mike Lowell, Ryan Kalish and Bill Hall put an end to that. The Red Sox lead 2-0 and Ron Washington is going to his bullpen.
End 8th, Red Sox 1-0: Jon Lester fell behind each hitter in the eighth but had another 1-2-3 inning and has still yet to walk a batter. He'll get a chance to finish this one but in this heat the leash may be short. We'll see.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 1-0: It's never easy, folks. The Red Sox have already played more one-run games than all but three teams in the majors and are again looking at a slim margin for error.
It's safe to say nobody wants to see the bullpen have to be used in this one, but Felix Doubront and Scott Atchison are warming.
End 7th, Red Sox 1-0: A one-out triple puts Jon Lester up against it in the seventh. The Red Sox bring the infield in and it pays off when David Murphy grounds to first for the second out and the runner is forced to hold.
Jorge Cantu then chops one to second and Lester survives the Rangers' only extra-base hit of the nith.
The pitch count is at 92 for Lester.
It looked as if Nelson Cruz was a bit lame when he was legging out the triple. He has been removed from the game to start the eighth.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 1-0: J.D. Drew grounds out to finish the seventh and strand two runners. Jon Lester heads back out there having thrown 81 pitches.
10:04 p.m.: A Bill Hall single and a Marco Scutaro walks spells the end of the night for Colby Lewis. Alexi Ogando is coming on with two outs and runners at first and second.
End 6th, Red Sox 1-0: Jon Lester gets Josh Hamilton on a grounder to first to finish the sixth and this duel continues into the seventh.
It might be the last inning for Colby Lewis but if he can work through things quickly do not be surprised if he goes out again for the eighth. We are dealing with some spent bullpens and two starters having clutch performances.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 1-0: Colby Lewis has struck out seven and walked just one through six innings, which is about on pace for him. His peripheral numbers this season are outstanding.
Lewis has thrown 94 pitches. We know Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard are not available for the Red Sox but Rangers closer Neftali Feliz threw two innings Friday night and is likely not an option himself.
Should be some interesting maneuvers in the late innings.
End 5th, Red Sox 1-0: Daniel Bard said after Jon Lester's effort in New York on Monday that we saw what it is like when Lester pitches angry. It appears as if he still has some anger issues.
Lester cruises through the fifth while picking up his third and fourth strikeouts. He has thrown 74 pitches so far.
Dustin Pedroia finished 1-for-3 with a walk in Pawtucket's 6-4 win.
The Yankees have taken a 6-3 lead in Kansas City. A night after all three of the top teams in the AL East lost, we could see all three win.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 1-0: J.D. Drew's hot stretch continues as he rips an RBI single to score Ryan Kalish from third. Kalish had singled, moved to second on a passed ball and to third on Marco Scutaro's infield hit.
Drew is 8-for-21 (.381) with four home runs and six RBIs during a six-game hitting streak.
End 4th, 0-0: I'm sensing a pattern here. The Rangers have gotten the leadoff man on in four straight innings but have left that man on at second base each time. Give Jon Lester credit for grinding things out.
Lester has 10 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings.
Mid 4th, 0-0: Colby Lewis is through the heart of the Red Sox order in the fourth in the time it took me to scratch my foot. Just a little itch down there. It took Lewis eight pitches to retire David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre and Mike Lowell.
Not really sure what Boston's problems are with home plate umpire Paul Nauert. They've had issues with pitches that are definitive strikes, or at least nothing that should be taken with two strikes. Swing the bat, fellas.
End 3rd, 0-0: No shortage of base runners for the Rangers. Andres Blanco leads off the third with a single but is caught stealing. Elvis Andrus follows with another single but is erased on an inning-ending double play. Jon Lester playing with fire but surviving.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: Colby Lewis has retired the trio of Marco Scutaro, J.D. Drew and Victor Martinez in order in both the first and third innings.
Dustin Pedroia is 1-for-3 with a walk for Pawtucket, which leads Buffalo 6-4 in the eighth.
End 2nd, 0-0: The Rangers leave a runner at second base for the second straight inning after the Red Sox leave the bases loaded. We will see who laments their blowns scoring chances later on.
Lost in the craziness of Friday night was the one-pitch outing by Tim Wakefield that just reminded us how much he hates to pitch in Texas.
Wakefield's ERA in Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is now 6.27 and he is 5-13 there. That represents his worst ERA and winning percentage in any American League park.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Colby Lewis has made 22 starts this year and only twice has lasted as little as five innings. Both of those instances came against Boston and we could see why in the second.
The Red Sox worked him over with two singles, a walk and an eight-pitch at-bat by Bill Hall.
Unfortunately, that long battle with Hall resulted in a called third strike and Eric Patterson followed with a pop to left as Boston wasted a huge scoring opportunity.
Lewis threw 27 pitches in the inning.
End 1st, 0-0: Adrian Beltre's 16th error, tied for the American League lead among third baseman, does not hurt Jon Lester in the first. In fact, Lester is out of the inning in just 11 pitches, striking out Vladimir Guerrero to end it and strand a runner at second.
In some side news the Red Sox on Saturday sent catcher Michael Thomas to Texas to complete the trade for Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Thomas was hitting .156 with two home runs in 31 games for Single-A Greenville.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Marco Scutaro, J.D. Drew and Victor Martinez go in order for the Red Sox in the top of the first inning. Elsewhere, Dustin Pedroia is 1-for-3 with a run scored for Pawtucket.
We already know that Tampa Bay has won. The wild card lead at this very moment is 4 1/2 games, five in the loss column.
7:47 p.m.: You may be wondering how you rebound from back-to-back painful losses. One option is to turn to Jon Lester.
Remember, the Red Sox had dropped two in a row to the Yankees last weekend and had their AL East hopes hanging by a thread before Lester threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings in stifling heat in New York.
Of course, it wasn't quite as stifling as the triple-digit temperatures in Texas, but you catch my drift.
Boston has the guy on the mound it needs to right the ship.
6:38 p.m.: Dustin Pedroia was retired in his first at-bat with Pawtucket on Saturday. While Pedroia's imminent return is exciting it is tempered a bit by the fact that he will be rejoining a lineup once again devoid of its leadoff man.
While we have yet to receive the complete prognosis there cannot be much confidence in Ellsbury being any kind of factor for the rest of the year. If he even returns at all.
With that thought in mind the constant shuffling of the daily lineup may start to slow down a bit. With no Ellsbury, no Kevin Youkilis and no Mike Cameron, Terry Francona's options are limited. We will see Marco Scutaro batting leadoff, Dustin Pedroia batting second and the Victor Martinez-Mike Lowell-Jarrod Saltalamacchia trio holding down the 1B-C positions.
Ryan Kalish will play every day that there is not a tough lefty on the mound and often when there is. The one position which may continue to change is center field, where Darnell McDonald and Eric Patterson will essentially settle into a platoon, in all likelihood. Outside of that there will be J.D. Drew, David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre rounding out the group on an everyday basis.
5:13 p.m.: The reports out of Texas have Jacoby Ellsbury going back to the disabled list with pain in the same area that he had broken bones before. No major surprise here, but another blow.
Here are the Ellsbury-less lineups:
Marco Scutaro, SS
J.D. Drew, RF
Victor Martinez, C
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Mike Lowell, 1B
Ryan Kalish, LF
Bill Hall, 2B
Eric Patterson, CF
Elvis Andrus, SS
Michael Young, 3B
Josh Hamilton, CF
Vladimir Guerrero, DH
Nelson Cruz, RF
David Murphy, LF
Jorge Cantu, 1B
Taylor Teagarden, C
Cristian Guzman, 2B
8:45 a.m.: While the Red Sox desperately need a win, they also need to wait on the condition of a handful of players Saturday.
Jacoby Ellsbury is set to receive an MRI in Los Angeles after hurting himself in a tumble at first base Friday night. He landed on the same left side that has caused him issues all season, and manager Terry Francona said "there's certainly some concern there."
Jed Lowrie, who left the series opener in Texas with heat exhaustion, may need a day to recover. And Victor Martinez may be a game-time decision after fouling a ball off his foot.
While we await updates on each of those situations, we look to Jon Lester to help Boston recover from back-to-back walk-off losses.
The Sox blew an 8-2 lead Friday night in a game they eventually dropped 10-9.
Colby Lewis, who defeated Boston in Fenway Park last month, will be on the mound for the first-place Rangers.
First pitch is 8:05 p.m.
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