Jon Lester Paves the Way for Complete Effort From Red Sox Pitching Staff


Jon Lester Paves the Way for Complete Effort From Red Sox Pitching StaffJon Lester is back to exuding the confidence of an ace.

After four months of beatings, the lefty took the mound against the Yankees and stymied them in Saturday's 4-1 victory, yielding just four hits and one run through seven innings of work.

For the first time since May 19, the Red Sox have won two consecutive starts with Lester on the bump. It's only the third time this season that Boston has achieved the feat, with the other occasions taking place in April and May.

"Everything looks good when you get good results," Lester told reporters in New York. "It's always gratifying to see the fruits of your labor. [The cutter], that's my pitch. That's what has gotten me to where I'm at. To get that back, to get the tilt back on it, is huge for me."

Lester showed his strides in last weekend's start against the Indians, allowing three hits and one run over six frames. But to maintain that momentum –– and strike out four batters –– against the Yankees truly validates his improvement.

"Another fine performance," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said of his pitcher. "Confident, aggressive, good-looking pitcher."

Beyond Lester, the Red Sox pitching staff pitched up to par.

When the southpaw exited in the eighth inning, Andrew Bailey made his third appearance of the season and started off by striking out Derek Jeter. He only lasted 1/3 of an inning, but Bailey made it count.

Then the Red Sox made history when reliever Craig Breslow entered to pitch with Ryan Lavarnway as his battery mate. It signaled the first time since 1883 that a pitcher-catcher battery consisted of two Yale University products.

But Breslow didn't revel in the history, rather inducing a double play to record his fifth hold of his Red Sox tenure. The string of strong performances paved the way for closer Alfredo Aceves to shut the door in the ninth.

At times this season, Aceves has been wild in the ninth. But he was efficient and effective against his former club, throwing 13 pitches –– which included striking out slugger Curtis Granderson –– to make quick work of the Yankees.

It was a complete effort for the Red Sox pitching staff, one that's lacked all year long.

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