Closing Time: Jon Lester helps Red Sox to sixth straight win, another sweep
|04.18.13 at 10:18 pm ET|
Jon Lester continued to help the Red Sox’ starting pitchers make history.
The lefty made it 15 straight games in which a Red Sox starter has allowed three or fewer runs, this time resulting in the Sox’ sixth straight win, a 6-3 decision over the Indians in Cleveland. Lester finished his fourth start of the season allowing two runs on four hits over seven innings.
The Lester outing, which dropped his ERA to 1.73, included five strikeouts an a walk. It gave the Red Sox’ starters the longest streak of a rotation allowing three runs or less in the American League since the 1981 Oakland A’s run of 16 straight stellar starts.
The win also handed the Sox their first back-to-back series sweeps since they rattled off three-straight sweeps from June 3-12, 2011. The victory also helped the Red Sox match their win total for the entire month of April a season ago.
Here is what went right (and wrong) for the Red Sox:
WHAT WENT RIGHT
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit his third home run of the season, taking McAllister deep. All three of the catcher’s homers have come while hitting left-handed. Of Saltalamacchia’s 25 homers in 2012, all but one came as a lefty hitter.
- Mike Napoli continued to produce out of the cleanup spot, this time tripling to leadoff the second inning and then coming home with the game’s first run on Daniel Nava’s single. Napoli then delivered with an RBI single in the seventh, marking the fifth straight game he has claimed an RBI. John Farrell’s team has the second-most RBI out of the cleanup spot (thanks to Napoli) in the majors.
- Napoli even showed off his baserunning skills, first tagging up to second base on Nava’s run-scoring sacrifice fly in the seventh, and then scoring via Mike Carp’s RBI single.
- The Red Sox came away with three steals, one from Jacoby Ellsbury (who has seven) and two out of Dustin Pedroia. The Sox now have 15 stolen bases, tied with Oakland for most in the majors. They lead the big leagues with 21 steal attempts.
- The Ellsbury/Pedroia combination teamed to produce the Red Sox’ third run in the fifth, as Pedroia singled in Ellsbury after the leadoff hitter had notched a one-out double. Ellsbury finished with a pair of hits, one against the righty McAllister, and the second vs. lefty reliever Nick Hagadone. The centerfielder came into the game just 3-for-24 against left-handers
WHAT WENT WRONG
- Former Red Sox infielder Mike Aviles contributed to both the Indians’ runs, driving in Mark Reynolds with a second-inning ground out. He then helped the hosts draw within a run by doubling high off the left field wall, and eventually scoring on Drew Stubbs’ ground out.
- Stephen Drew continued to struggle since joining the Red Sox, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. He is now 2-for-23 on the season.
- Andrew Miller ran into some issues in his outing, allowing a hit, a walk and a run in his 2/3 innings. Koji Uehara did give up the run charged to Miller score via a double off the bat of Carlos Santana in the eighth, but rallied to fan Nick Swisher (the potential game-tying run at the time.)
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