On a night when the Red Sox badly needed a win and had a bullpen that was totally worn down, Jon Lester came up huge last night, pitching his second shutout of 2008 and leading the Red Sox to a 7-0 victory over the Yankees to end a five-game losing streak.
Lester made the Yankees look totally lifeless, and New York wasn't helped by a careless throwing error by Derek Jeter that kept the first inning alive and gave the Red Sox two runs.
The Yankees threatened in the bottom of the first, as Lester walked the first two hitters (a 3-2 ball called on Jeter was highly questionable), but Lester settled down and got out of the inning with no one scoring. he showed some remarkable poise, going through the 3-4-5 in the New York lineup without a sweat.
The Sox added two more runs in the second on a bloop double by Jacoby Ellsbury to make it 4-0. Andy Pettitte had nothing, and was gone by the fifth, allowing six runs. The Red Sox also flashed some serious leather, turning three double plays.
Lester was the star of the night, as he was never in trouble after the first. The Yankees never got a man as far as third after the first inning, as Lester allowed just five hits. It was his seventh win of the year, and is now clearly the number two starter behind Josh Beckett. last night's shutout was the first one by the Red Sox over New York since 2004, and the first by a Red Sox starter in New York since Roger Moret did it in 1973.
It couldn't have come at a better time.
Last night at Professor Thom's, there was a carnival-like atmosphere, as a film crew from Japan was in the bar to film us for a leading morning show in Japan. They filmed at Thom's, as well as at Finnerty's, the bar next door where Yankee fans hang out. They played up the rivalry angle, and then came into the bar just before the game started to show us rooting on the Sox. (I was also filmed watching the game on a TV in the bar.) The Japanese folks were really nice, and it was a pleasure to help them out.
And during the game, my buddy Chris came up with a novel idea that had everyone laughing. Every time Alex Rodriguez came up, he would turn the sound of the game off and put on a song of his new paramour, Madonna. It was really funny watching Slappy make out every time.