Lester fans 15, gives up one hit in Red Sox win
BOSTON -- Jon Lester struck out a career-high 15, allowing one hit over eight scoreless innings and pitching the Boston Red Sox over the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Saturday.
Jonny Gomes hit a grand slam, and David Ortiz and David Ross added solo homers in Boston’s second straight win after losing a day-night doubleheader to Tampa Bay on Thursday.
The only hit off Lester (3-4) was Craig Gentry’s leadoff bloop single in the third over the head of second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
Lester rebounded from taking the loss in his previous two games by striking out nine of his first 13 batters. His previous strikeout best was 13 on July 24, 2010, in a 5-1 loss at Seattle.
The lefty struck out every hitter in the Oakland lineup. He fanned Josh Reddick three times and Coco Crisp, Nick Punto, Josh Donaldson and Alberto Callaspo twice each.
Oakland scored three runs in the ninth against Chris Capuano, helped by two errors. But Koji Uehara got out of a one-out jam with runners at second and third for his seventh save in seven opportunities.
Gomes hit his slam in the first inning off Tommy Milone (0-3).
Lester walked two and threw 119 pitches before being replaced by Capuano to start the ninth. In his previous two starts, Lester threw 118 pitches in a 7-2 loss to the New York Yankees on April 22 and 122 in a 4-1 loss at Toronto last Sunday.
Punto started the ninth with a double and took third on a single by Crisp. Both scored when Jed Lowrie doubled and left fielder Gomes threw wildly to the plate for an error. After Donaldson was hit by a pitch, Uehara walked Yoenis Cespedes.
Derek Norris then hit into a forceout at home, but catcher Ross’ throw to first went into right field, allowing a run to score. Uehara ended the threat by striking out Callaspo and retiring Brandon Moss on a flyball.
The first three Boston batters reached on a walk to Pedroia, a single by Xander Bogaerts and a walk to Ortiz. After Mike Napoli struck out, Gomes hit the first pitch into the seats above the 37-foot high Green Monster for the fifth grand slam of his career and the second by Boston in two games.
Pedroia hit his second career grand slam and first homer of the season on Friday night against the A’s.
Milone struck out the next four batters but ran into trouble again in the third when Ortiz led off with his sixth homer of the year. Ross started the fourth with his third homer.
NOTES: Pedroia has reached base 35 times in his last 17 games. ... The Athletics have scored no runs while Milone was in the game in his three losses. ... Sonny Gray (4-1) pitches for Oakland in the finale of the three-game series against John Lackey (4-2) on Sunday. ... The crowd cheered each time a Red Sox worker walked along the left-field warning track to change the number next to the Bruins name on the scoreboard after each of their last three goals in Game 2 of their playoff series against Montreal. Boston was trailing 3-2 in the third period then scored three goals in the last six minutes to win 5-3 and even the series at 1.
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