There seems to be no slowing down the Los Angeles Dodgers .
The slumping Boston Red Sox will try again after failing in their first attempt.
Baseball's hottest team looks to win its fifth straight overall and eighth in a row at home Saturday against the now second-place Red Sox.
A return to interleague play did nothing to cool the Dodgers (76-52), who rode a stellar performance from Ricky Nolasco and Hanley Ramirez 's two-run homer to a 2-0 victory over the Red Sox on Friday in the opener of this marquee series.
The Dodgers earned their major league-leading 18th shutout of the season while improving to 46-10 since June 22. They opened a 10 1/2 game lead in the NL West, their biggest margin since holding the same lead on Sept. 28, 1977.
Nolasco was just the latest Dodgers starter to impress. Their rotation has posted a 1.24 ERA during the four-game win streak and has a 2.47 ERA over their last 56 games, a half-run better than anyone else in the majors.
"We've been playing great," Nolasco said. "We're just staying with our focus no matter what the opponent is. We know how big it is to keep our 'A' game going."
Their 10 shutouts over that stretch are one more than second-place Milwaukee.
"As you get deeper into the season, these guys start dominating," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
In the first game between these teams since they pulled off one of the biggest trades in baseball history on Aug. 25, the current Dodgers exacted a small measure of revenge. Besides Ramirez's homer, Carl Crawford went 2 for 3 with a run scored against his former team and is 8 for 24 during a six-game hitting streak.
Ramirez is batting .371 with seven RBIs and nine runs in nine games against the AL this season.
Boston (75-55), meanwhile, lost for the sixth time in nine games and dropped percentage points behind Tampa Bay in the AL East."We're catching them as hot as they can be and we're definitely not as hot as we can be," outfielder Daniel Nava said. "Hopefully, tomorrow that will be the start of that for us."
The Red Sox were shut down Friday after they scored 12 runs in a rout of San Francisco on Wednesday, continuing an inconsistent trend from their offense. Boston has scored three runs or fewer five times over the past nine games while totaling 31 runs in the other four contests.
Offense won't be easy to come by again with Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-4, 2.95 ERA) on the mound Saturday for Los Angeles.
The left-hander is 4-1 with a 1.87 ERA in his last five starts, walking four and striking out 30 over 33 2-3 innings. He's been even better at home, going 6-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 11 starts at Chavez Ravine.
The Dodgers had won nine straight Ryu starts until he allowed three runs and six hits over 7 1-3 innings in a 6-2 loss at Miami on Monday.
He'll be opposed by fellow southpaw Jon Lester (11-7, 4.09), who has a 0.94 ERA in his last four road starts with no homers allowed. That's in stark contrast to his first 13 starts away from Fenway Park, when he posted a 5.61 ERA while surrendering 12 home runs.
Lester's road success carried into San Francisco on Monday, as he allowed six hits over 8 1-3 innings of a 7-0 victory.
"Jon threw the ball," Pedroia said. "It was unbelievable. It seems like we were barely on defense."
Lester was lifted after 115 pitches, his third straight game with 114-plus pitches.
Since allowing six runs on a season-worst 11 hits to Arizona on Aug. 2, Lester has posted a 1.25 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a .210 batting average.
|Jerry Hairston Jr.||3||.333||1||0||0||0||0||.333||.666||.333|
|Boston Red Sox|
|August 17, 2013||Mike Napoli||Day-to-Day||Sore left foot|
|August 08, 2013||Brandon Snyder||15-Day DL||Ulnar neuritis, right elbow|
|August 05, 2013||Matt Thornton||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|August 04, 2013||Matt Thornton||Day-to-Day||Right oblique soreness|
|July 19, 2013||Shane Victorino||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hamstring tightness|
|July 13, 2013||Andrew Bailey||60-Day DL||Right shoulder strain|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|August 04, 2013||Hanley Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Jammed right shoulder|
|August 03, 2013||Yasiel Puig||Day-to-Day||Left hand contusion|
|July 30, 2013||Brian Wilson||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|July 30, 2013||Brian Wilson||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|July 23, 2013||Jose Dominguez||15-Day DL||Left quad strain|
|July 22, 2013||Matt Kemp||15-Day DL||Sprained left ankle|
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Jon Lester had never faced the Los Angeles Dodgers before, and he handled their lineup with ease.
The left-hander pitched three-hit ball into the eighth inning, Jonny Gomes ' three-run homer capped a four-run first, and the Boston Red Sox won 4-2 on Saturday, snapping the Dodgers' four-game winning streak.
"For the most part, I commanded the ball pretty well and was able to move the fastball around and get some weak contact from a good-hitting lineup," Lester said. "I know what I'm capable of. It's just a matter of going out there and doing it. Since the (All-Star) break, I've felt good physically, and I feel like I'm in a good place throwing the ball right now."
The Red Sox began the day percentage points behind Tampa Bay for first in the AL East. They won at Dodger Stadium for the first time in five games dating to their first visit in 2002, when they were swept in three games.
Lester (12-7) gave up one run in 7 1-3 innings, struck out six and walked four.
"He was absolutely phenomenal," Boston catcher David Ross said. "This was the best fastball location he's had for me all year. This is the first time I've caught him in a while, but he threw excellent."
Koji Uehara got the final four outs to earn his career high-tying 13th save in 16 chances. He hasn't allowed a run in his last 18 appearances, going 1-0 with eight saves since July 9.
The Red Sox got to rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-5) right away under a searing sun in 82-degree heat. With one out in the first, Ryu hit Shane Victorino with a pitch before Dustin Pedroia reached on an infield single to second. Victorino scored on Mike Napoli 's RBI single.
Gomes followed with his 11th homer on Ryu's next pitch, scoring Pedroia and Napoli to make it 4-0. Ryu struck out Stephen Drew and Will Middlebrooks to end the inning.
"I was hitting fifth and he threw four first-pitch fastballs before I got up," Gomes said. "I knew he had good off-speed stuff, good secondary stuff, and the majority of pitchers have good fastballs, so I was hunting the fastball."
Ryu caught a cold returning from the road trip to Miami, but he said it didn't affect his pitching. He lost in consecutive starts for the first time in his career.
"The lesson is don't give up too many runs," he said through a translator.
The Dodgers trailed 4-2 on Adrian Gonzalez 's RBI double off Craig Breslow with two outs in the eighth. After Breslow walked Hanley Ramirez to put the tying runs at first and second, Uehara ended the inning by striking out A.J. Ellis.
Lester retired eight of the first 10 batters he faced before the Dodgers notched their first hit, a single by Mark Ellis in the fourth.
"Our starting pitching has been absolutely grinding and keeping us in the game. Jon grabbed that lead and ran with it," Gomes said. "That's how he was in the beginning of the season. I don't think he's re-inventing himself right now. I think he's just getting back on track."
The Red Sox backed Lester with two double plays, including Drew's one-man double play that ended the seventh. He caught a soft line drive off the bat of Juan Uribe and then sprinted to second to double off Ramirez.
"We were behind in most of the counts and he made big pitches when he had to," Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. "More times than not with our offense we're going to be able to get back in the game all the way, but he didn't allow it."
Ryu allowed four runs and five hits in five innings, tying his shortest outing of the season. The left-hander struck out seven and walked none in losing his second straight start after winning six in a row.
Hours after Ricky Nolasco limited the Red Sox to two hits in a 2-0 on Friday, Ryu fell to 6-2 at home.
"I'm glad we got to him early," Ross said. "Every pitcher wants to establish their heater. So if you've got a good aggressive hitter like Jonny who can hit the ball out of the ballpark and he jumps on that first pitch, it's huge."
Dodgers' starters hadn't allowed a run in their previous 26 innings dating to Wednesday, their second-longest scoreless run of the season.
NOTES: The Red Sox improved to 36-32 on the road. ... Boston SS Xander Bogaerts singled in the ninth for his first major league hit. ... Dodgers closer Brian Wilson worked out of a bases-loaded jam in his second appearance since coming back from Tommy John surgery. He struck out Middlebrooks to end the eighth. ... Puig was 2 for 4 batting in the leadoff position.