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Closing Time: Jon Lester’s landmark day, home run derby lead Red Sox past A’s

05.03.14 at 4:20 pm ET
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While the loudest cheers of the day went to the  scoreboard operator when he went to post the final score of the Bruins-Canadians playoff game on the Green Monster, the cheers were not few and far between at Fenway Park as they were on many nights throughout the first month of the season. The bats broke out in a big way against Oakland southpaw Tommy Milone and Jon Lester looked absolutely dominant with a career-high 15 strikeouts through eight innings to lead the Red Sox to a 6-3 win over the Athletics Saturday afternoon.

The Red Sox struck early and often against Milone. Outfielder Jonny Gomes hit the third Red Sox grand slam in eight days. Two innings later, David Ortiz engulfed a change up down the middle of the plate over the visitor’s bullpen in right field. The home run-fest continued in the fourth inning when catcher David Ross knocked his second home run of the year over the Monster. Milone lasted only four innings plus innings, the fourth straight game where the opposing pitcher failed to make it out of the fifth.

Lester looked absolutely dominant through his eight innings. Lester’s 15 strikeout outing tied him Smoky Joe Wood for third all-time on the Red Sox 10-strikeout game leader list with 18, only behind Pedro Martinez (72) and Roger Clemens (68). Throughout the outing, Lester mixed his arsenal of pitches adroitly, keeping the Athletics off-balance throughout the day and throwing 76 of his 119 pitches for strikes. After today’s start, Lester now boasts a 2.59 ERA with 58 strikeouts and a 1.09 WHIP.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

  • Gomes came through once again for the Red Sox with his fifth career grand slam (the last one was May 8, 2013 against Minnesota) in the first inning. After Mike Napoli struck out with Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts and Ortiz on base, Gomes knocked a big fly over the monster for his third home run of the season.
  • Dustin Pedroia continued his hot streak with a double, a walk and a run scored. Since receiving a cortisone shot on April 15 on a bum left wrist, Pedroia is hitting .305 with eight doubles, one home run, nine RBI and thirteen walks.
  • Ortiz feasted on a Tommy Milone change up right down the heart of the plate and subsequently deposited the pitcher over the visitor’s bullpen in right field. The home run tied Ortiz with Dwight Evans for fourth on the Red Sox home run list with 379 home runs.
  • David Ross snapped an 0-for-10 skid with a fourth inning home run over the Monster off a Milone change up.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

  • The bottom four hitters in the lineup, Grady Sizemore, Will Middlebrooks, Jackie Bradley and David Ross all struck out against Milone their first time through the lineup.
  • The Red Sox left nine runners on base: Bogaerts (1), Napoli (3), Gomes (1), Sizemore (1), Middlebrooks (1) Bradley (2).
  • Bradley had a tough day at the plate, going hitless in four trips to the plate with two strikeouts.
  • Chris Capuano ran into some trouble in the ninth, allowing three runs. Koji Uehara came on to get the save, stranding a pair of runners in scoring position.
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