TORONTO(AP) A new-look lineup gave the
Boston Red Sox
offense a much-needed spark. The way
pitched, it was more than enough.
hit a three-run shot and Lester struck out a career-high 12 as the
Toronto Blue Jays
8-2 on Sunday.
''It started with Lester,''
said. ''He was powerful.''
Lester (4-5) allowed one run, three hits and three walks in six innings, lowering his ERA to 5.65. His 12 strikeouts were
the most by a
pitcher this season and the most by a Boston left-hander since
struck out 14 against Oakland on May 5, 1987.
''He could have beat anybody with the stuff he had today,''
Lester, who threw 115 pitches, said his only regret was not being able to go deeper in the game.
''I had a pretty good feel for my curveball today and threw a lot of change-ups,'' Lester said. ''That's big with this team.
You've just got to keep a good mix and you can't let them look for one area or sit on a fastball. When I did get behind, I
was able to have enough soft stuff in the mix where they couldn't just gear up for a fastball.''
pitched two innings and
finished it off in the ninth.
also homered for the
, who tweaked their lineup to shake themselves out of a recent offensive slump. Nine of Boston's 11 hits were for extra-bases.
Batting leadoff for the first time this season, Pedroia homered off the left-field foul screen in the fourth inning, his second.
Pedroia was bumped up and outfielder
dropped to eighth as Francona tried to boost the offense after watching his team score just 13 runs in its previous five games.
''We need to have our on base guys (up high) for the guys in the middle of the order,'' Francona said. ''It's important.''
The moves paid off as every Boston starter except
had at least one hit, helping the
score more than three runs for just the second time in seven games and improve to 3-4 on their current 10-game trip.
''We scored early and then we added on,'' Francona said. ''That's always a good way to play. We haven't done that very much
lately but it was a very good day today.''
Francona wasn't sure whether he'd keep the same lineup when the
open a three-game series in Detroit on Tuesday night. As for Pedroia, the reigning AL MVP isn't concerned about where he hits.
''It doesn't really change my approach,'' Pedroia said. ''Whatever they tell us to do, we're willing to do it. I don't get
paid to make the lineup.''
Youkilis hit a solo homer in the first off Toronto left-hander
, then hit another solo drive in the eighth off right-hander
, the sixth multihomer game of his career. Bay followed Youkilis' second drive with an almost identical shot into the left-field
bullpen, his 15th.
Trailing 1-0 on Youkilis' first homer, Toronto tied it in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly from
Pedroia put Boston ahead to stay with his two-out homer in the fourth. The homer was Pedroia's first since he went deep on
his first at bat of the season, April 7 against Tampa Bay, a span of 190 at bats.
hit an RBI double in the fifth and J.D. Drew hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
hit a solo homer to left off Masterson in the eighth.
Making his second start since coming off the disabled list with a strained right oblique, Toronto left-hander
(2-2) allowed five runs and six hits in four-plus innings. He walked five and struck out five.
snapped an 0 for 12 streak with a double to center in the fourth and finished 1 for 5 with a strike out. Ortiz is batting
Notes: Lester's previous high in strikeouts was 10, set twice previously. ... Toronto's
went 0 for 3 with a walk, ending his hitting streak at 13 games. ... Ellsbury had a sacrifice bunt in the fourth, Boston's
first of the season. The
were the last team in the majors without a sacrifice bunt. ... The win was Francona's 499th as Boston manager. ... Francona
said there's a ''decent chance'' that OF
(back) could be activated off the 15-day disabled list before Tuesday's game at Detroit.