Rangers - 111 000 000 - 3 13 1News of the Bruins' win over Montreal filtered into Fenway as the Red Sox began to bat against Benoit in the bottom of the 8th.
Red Sox - 200 000 03x - 5 7 0
It had been a frustrating night. Lester (6.1-10-3-2-5, 106) gave up single runs in each of the first three innings, and while his control was much better tonight, Houdini was fortunate to strand six Rangers over the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings.
Boston got two runs in the first. Ellsbury doubled and Pedroia (bunting) reached on Jennings's throwing error. Lyndon scored as Ortiz GIDP on a 3-1 pitch, but Manny walked and scored on Yook's double to right center. After that 30-pitch inning, though Jennings morphed into an ace. He retired 16 of the next 18 hitters, including his last 10.
In the 8th against Benoit, Ellsbury popped out. The crowd was roaring over the hockey score and the Sox seemed to feed off the energy. Benoit's next five pitches determined the ball game. Pedroia drove a 1-0 pitch off the Wall for a double. Ortiz smacked the first pitch to Kinsler in short right field. He knocked it down, but it trickled past him into the outfield. Pedroia sprinted around and scored, tying the game at 3-3. Manny then absolutely destroyed Benoit's 1-0 pitch, driving it high off the light tower in left. It was career dong #496!
Papelbon allowed a leadoff single to Blalock, but got the next three for the win.
Although Ellsbury was silent at the plate after his early double, he kept the Sox in the game with a fantastic running catch to end the eighth. After Texas put runners at second and third against Timlin, Lopez came in to face Hamilton (who had homered in the first and singled and scored in the third). Loogy's first pitch was scorched to right-center, but Ellsbury, in a full sprint, backhanded the ball for the out.
In Baltimore, the Orioles shutout the Yankees 6-0.
Win It For: Cody!
Jason Jennings (8.79, 49 ERA+) / Jon Lester (5.31, 85 ERA+)
Jon Lester is as annoyed by his high walk totals as we are. After his last start on Monday -- 4.1 IP, 5 H, 5 BB, 4 R -- he said it was "the most frustrating time in my whole career ...
It's a continuous battle to not walk people, and it seems like that's what my game plan is every five days is to not walk people. Not necessarily to attack guys or game plan on what pitches I want to throw. It's basically to not walk people, and it just keeps snowballing into something worse. ... It has nothing to do with mechanics. It's just a matter of going out and attacking hitters and throwing strikes. ... Hopefully, I'll go forward next time instead of backwards again.He doesn't sound overly positive. At all.
Bases on balls has been an issue during Lester's entire professional career. Here's his general progression through the minors (not all stops included):
Age/Level IP BB BB/9 ERA WHIPHe's made no progress at all in cutting down on his walks since he was drafted in 2002. He'll be nothing more than a league-average back-of-the-rotation guy until he does.
2003 19 - A 106 44 3.74 3.65 1.38
2004 20 - A+ 90 37 3.86 4.30 1.32
2005 21 - AA 148.1 57 3.70 2.61 1.15
2006 22 - AAA 47 25 3.46 2.68 1.45
Red Sox 81.1 43 4.76 4.76 1.65
2007 23 - AAA 71.2 31 3.90 3.92 1.38
Red Sox 63 31 4.43 4.57 1.46
2008 24 Red Sox 20.1 15 6.65 5.31 1.62
Minors: 484 IP, 203 BB, 3.77 BB/9, 1.31 WHIP
Majors: 164.2 IP, 89 BB, 4.86 BB/9, 1.57 WHIP
Jennings allowed six earned runs in 4.2 innings on Monday, which was a tad worse than his two previous starts. He has not faced the Red Sox since 2004. His only start at Fenway came on June 11, 2002 (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R). Only Casey and Drew have faced him more than five times -- and they have lit him up.