After allowing the first two batters he faced to reach base in Sunday's 14-1 laugher over Cleveland, Lester reverted to dominant form, allowing just three hits in six innings while punching out 12 batters.
"My confidence never strayed," Lester told reporters. "My game plan was there, my thought process was there. Just got to execute, and I was able to do that today. It's nice. It goes back to confidence. It's a confidence booster to be able to throw the pitches I've been throwing all year, and to get swings and misses."
The pinpoint pitching resulted in Lester's first victory since June 27 and his sixth win of the season. In the six-week stretch between victories, the southpaw posted an 0-5 record with a 7.49 ERA.
Boston's early run support –– five runs through two innings –– also alleviated the pressure from his shoulders. In the process, Lester stymied Cleveland's hitters by showcasing an effective fastball and curveball.
"You come to a point where you have to forget stats and just go out and try to keep your team in the game," Lester said. "Let this offense get a chance."
On Sunday, the Indians' offense never had a chance. Lester piled up double-digit strikeouts for the 17th time in his Red Sox career, trailing only Joe Wood, Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez for the franchise record.
Although Lester is far away from sniffing Martinez's record of 72, he still made an impression on Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine.
"To pitch well and get a win is something that I think can get him on a roll," Valentine said. "That's what we need."
And it all comes back to Lester's confidence.
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