on the mound and the
at Fenway Park were the perfect mix for the
Boston Red Sox
jump-started Boston's sluggish offense with a three-run homer,
added a two-run shot in his
debut and Lester worked into the eighth inning in a 7-2 win over the struggling Orioles on Saturday night.
Lester (9-7) improved to 9-0 in 11 career starts against Baltimore, and the
beat the Orioles for the 11th straight time at home.
''I don't think we were pressing tonight,'' Boston manager
said. ''Last week, we were saying guys were trying to swing for a three-run homer. Every team goes through periods where things
aren't going very well and you try too hard.''
added two RBI doubles for the
, who won their second straight after a season-high five-game losing streak and moved to 1 1/2 games behind the AL East-leading
New York Yankees
Baltimore, which lost for the 14th time in 18 games, fell to 1-16 in road games within the division.
How the Orioles play the rest of their games against the Yankees,
Tampa Bay Rays
may be the difference in the AL East. Baltimore is 0-6 in both Fenway and Yankee Stadium this season, and 1-1 against the
Rays in Tropicana Field.
''It's not from a lack of effort, that's for sure. We've played a lot of close games,'' Baltimore's
said of his team's lack of success in Fenway.
Lester was mostly in control, giving up two runs and eight hits in 7 1-3 innings. He struck out nine and walked two. He allowed
both of the runs in the fourth on RBI singles by
''The way he's throwing, I'd hate to say it doesn't matter (who he's facing), but if he pitches like that he's going to be
OK,'' Francona said.
Unlike the previous six games when the
struggled to score, they jumped on
(7-9) for three runs in the first on Ortiz's 13th homer.
had a two-out single before Ortiz's high drive carried into the center-field seats.
''It definitely eases a pitcher's mind when we go out and get some runs early,'' Lester said. ''You still have to have the
mental edge, but you do have a little room to work with.''
LaRoche, acquired from Pittsburgh on Wednesday for two minor leaguers, went 1 for 4. His opposite-field homer went into the
first row of Green Monster seats off
in the eighth.
''It definitely feels good. I had gotten away from that a little bit,'' LaRoche said of trying to hit the other way.
were held to four or fewer runs in all of their previous seven games since the All-Star break.
got the final two outs in the eighth, and
pitched the ninth.
Guthrie, coming off one his best starts of the season when he held the
Chicago White Sox
to three hits and two runs in a 10-2 win last Saturday, gave up his AL-leading 23rd homer.
''Some players maybe,'' Guthrie said when asked if they may be thinking about the losing streak in Boston. ''I can't speak
for everybody. I know that personally for me, ever since the first game I've thrown here, it's been one thing after another
that leads to crazy things.''
Ellsbury's first RBI double made it 4-0 in the second after
had a ground-rule double. He also doubled home
in the fourth.
NOTES: The three-run first was Boston's most in an inning since the last game before the break. ...
was rested so 1B LaRoche could start. ''(Youkilis) is a little beat up. I just thought it was a good night to go ahead and
do it,'' Francona said before the game. ''This isn't going to be like a rotation.'' Youkilis may have been a bit surprised
by the time off after the team had an off-day Thursday. ''We haven't discussed it much. They told me today's my off day,''
he said. ... Baltimore's sidelined right-handed pitchers
(circulatory condition) and
(biceps tendinitis) each threw a scoreless inning in a rehab appearance with Triple-A Norfolk Friday. ... Plate umpire Paul
Neuert had his mask knocked off by a ninth-inning foul tip.