Jon Lester keeps rolling, as he shut down the Orioles yet again. Lester has never lost to them and is a career 12-o vs. the Birds. He went seven innings, allowing just a run in the fifth inning as the Sox cruised to a 9-3 win at Fenway.
Lester had one rough inning: the first. He loaded the bases on two hits and a walk, but got Adam Jones to bang into a double play to end the inning. The Sox then teed off on Jeremy Guthrie, getting three RBI doubles from Kevin Youkilis, J.D. Drew and Daniel Nava, and it was 4-0.
Kevin Youkilis banged a two-run shot off the Sports Authority sign above the Monster seats to make it 6-1. The Sox added three in eighth to put it on ice.
Lester struck out seven, and is now 10-3, with a 2.76 ERA. Sounds All-Star Game worthy to me.
Yesterday's game was the midway point in the season, game 81. The Sox are now 49-32, the same record they've had the past two seasons at this point. With all the injuries and early season doubts about this team, they are just 1/2 game behind New York, who won yesterday over the Blue Jays in New York.
This may very well be Terry Francona's most masterful managing season to date. And it just got tougher with the loss of Clay Buchholz today.