It didn't start off well at Fenway last night, as Jon Lester was getting hit hard in the first. He gave up four hits, including a two-run home run to Emil Brown. Almost everything he was throwing was up and getting belted. With two on and one out, he got Carlos Gonzalez to rap into a double play. Then Dana Eveland, Oakland's starting pitcher, had an even rougher first.
He gave up a single to Dustin Pedroia and a home run to Kevin Youkilis (pictured). Two hits later, Jason Bay came up and hit a bomb to left center for his first homer in a Red Sox uniform to make it 5-2.
Lester settled in and went seven strong innings. The first was his only rough inning. The Sox added four more in the third, with the big hit coming from Jed Lowrie (once again), who doubled with the bases loaded to basically put the game on ice. The Sox coasted into an easy 12-2 win, with Youk going deep in the eighth to put an exclamation point on a big night for the Sox. Lester now has 10 wins, and has gone into the seventh inning in eight of his last nine starts.
Tampa Bay and New York were both victorious so no one made any move at the top of the AL East. The Red Sox remain 3 behind the Rays and 2 1/2 ahead of the Yankees.
Did you notice who much Mike Lowell was hobbling in the game last night? He's got a sore hip, which was reaggravated on Friday night. But he went out there and put on a defensive clinic, making three tremendous plays in the field. He also had two hits and legged out a double before leaving after the sixth inning.
Lowell is the absolute definition of a professional baseball player, someone who will do anything to win, including playing (and playing hard) when not 100%. Unlike some other players (no names mentioned here) who couldn't be bothered to hustle to first to possibly break up, say a no-hitter, and like to pull all kinds of crap to get themselves traded so they could possibly get a better multi-year contract somewhere else.
Again, I won't mention any names, but I think you know who I'm talking about.