BOSTON — Red Sox ace Jon Lester isn’t letting his contract situation become a distraction this season, and that was evident again in Saturday’s 3-2 walk-off win over the Baltimore Orioles in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Fenway Park.
Lester pitched eight innings, giving up five hits, zero walks, striking out seven and not allowing an earned run.
However, he didn’t factor into the decision as the Red Sox emerged victorious in the bottom of the ninth inning with a game-winning pinch hit by Jonathan Herrera.
“Judging by today, I don’t think (the contract speculation) was much of a distraction,” Lester said.
Lester also provided an update on where the talks (or lack thereof) between him and the team stand.
“That’s something we’ve already crossed right now,” Lester. “Talking with ownership and sitting down and talking with everybody involved, I think both sides right now are happy with not talking right now.”
The 30-year-old veteran is eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season. As a No. 1 starter, a two-time World Series champion and a left-hander with dominant pitches, Lester should attract plenty of suitors if he reaches the open market in the winter.
As for the present, Lester has been one of baseball’s best pitchers over the last month. He’s 5-1 in his last eight starts and has allowed a total of four earned runs over his last five outings. Lester has given up two earned runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts.
He’s a top candidate for the 2014 American League All-Star team, which will be revealed Sunday.
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