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Jon Lester entered Wednesday night’s start a perfect 12-0 against the Baltimore Orioles, so it looked like the Red Sox would be able to end their three-game losing streak and keep pace with the Yankees and Rays in an increasingly impossible push to the playoffs. But suddenly, Lester gave up a 1-0 lead by allowing four first inning runs, and after two innings the Red Sox were down 5-2.
Without Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox lineup was dead in the water. Listening to the game on WEEI on the way home from work, I was thinking of clever ways to write the Red Sox season obituary. I was ready to dub this game the official nail in the coffin, with the Rays and Yankees both winning in their games (both teams did eventually win one-run decisions).
Much to my pleasant surprise, the Red Sox offense showed sudden life, pounding in six runs in the seventh inning to take a 9-5 lead. Marco Scutaro homered to tie the game at 5-5, Victor Martinez knocked in J.D. Drew with an RBI double to give the Sox the lead, and Adrian Beltre blasted a three-run shot to put the game out of reach. The Red Sox allowed a run in the eighth, but beat Baltimore 9-6 to end their losing streak.
In the end, Lester allowed five runs in six gutsy innings. He allowed eight hits and struck out 10 to earn his 13th win against zero defeats vs. the Orioles.
Despite the win, the Red Sox remained eight games behind the Yankees in the AL East and seven games behind the Rays in the Wild Card.
Scutaro made up for yet another error at short, and hit the game-tying two-run HR in the seventh inning. He was also the only Sox batter with two hits.
Hall pinch hit for Ryan Kalish, and finished 0-2 with two strikeouts.
W: Jon Lester (15-8)
L: Mark Hendrickson (1-5)