's strikeout milestone was ''pretty cool,'' his seven shutout innings for the
Boston Red Sox
were pretty important.
Lester allowed four hits and Boston, boosted by home runs from
, beat the
Chicago White Sox
Lester fanned eight and became just the 10th different Boston pitcher to reach the 200-strikeout plateau.
''Strikeouts are nice. A cool stat,'' Lester said. ''That's not something I'm trying to do. It's something I'll look back
on after my career and realize it's pretty cool.''
After losing Friday and Saturday to the
, Boston increased its AL wild-card lead to three games over Texas, which lost to Baltimore 7-0.
''Even when Lester fell behind he was able to come back and throw strikes. Seven strong innings,'' Lowell said. ''He's been
solid for us all year. This was a big start, especially after the way the first two games went.''
Lester (12-7) has struck out 204 this season. It marked the 24th time overall a
pitcher has reached 200 strikeouts.
did it two years two years ago.
''He's just got great stuff,'' Chicago's
said. ''Throws hard, good cutter, curve when he needs it, he threw me a couple of changeups. Just mixed it up and pitched
really well and didn't really have a pattern it seemed like.''
Chicago had won four in a row. The loss dropped the
eight games behind AL Central leader Detroit with only 24 games left.
''The way Detroit is playing right now, they are on a roll and we're not,''
said. ''It's not impossible, but every day will be tougher, even if you win or you lose.''
Lowell hit his 17th homer, a high fly into the
bullpen in the fourth, after
started the inning with a single off
Boston added a run for a 3-0 lead in the fifth.
beat out an infield single and moved up on sacrifice and, after
was hit by a pitch, Bay delivered a RBI single with two outs.
homered leading off the
eighth against reliever
But Martinez hit a three-run shot off
in the ninth, his 21st homer of the season and sixth since joining the
on July 31.
put runners on in three of the first four innings but could not break through against the hard-throwing Lester. Lester threw
122 pitches, has won his last four decisions and hasn't lost since July 19.
''I got myself in some trouble, but made some pitches when I had do. I got some outs when I got myself in jams,'' he said.
Danks lost his bid for a career-high 13th win and pitched in and out of trouble most of the day in the matchup of tough left-handers.
In six innings, he gave up seven hits and three runs.
''You know going up against a guy like that you got to be almost flawless,'' Danks said of Lester. ''He's a guy who every
night will give you a chance to win. He's going to hold a team to a run or two. ... I got outpitched.''
Chicago's first two batters reached in the first. But with his back to the infield, Boston second baseman
raced into shallow right to make an over-the-shoulder catch of Konerko's fly. He then turned and threw to second to double
''Pedroia didn't get any hits, but he probably saved the game in the first inning,''
said. ''At best we're looking at bases loaded and nobody out because I think everybody in the ballpark thought the ball is
NOTES: Ellsbury had three singles and a walk. ... Chicago rookie
, who hurt his side Saturday with a batting practice swing, was out of the lineup after starting 65 straight games at third
base. Beckham, who left after a half-inning Saturday, is expected to also miss Monday's series finale. ... Chicago's
struck out three times. Rios, claimed off waivers from Toronto last month, is in a 4-for-46 rut over his last 12 games.