Blue Jays - 000 000 000 - 0 2 0Lester (8-1-0-4-6, 97) was magnificent, and was able to vary his pitches more than usual, mixing in his curve and changeup. The only hit he allowed was a leadoff single in the fifth to Overbay. On the next pitch, Stewart grounded into a double play.
Red Sox - 000 000 001 - 1 5 0
Lester walked four batters, but three of them came with two outs and no one on base. The other one was a leadoff pass to Zaun in the sixth. But again, there was little harm. After Rios was caught looking, Eckstein grounded into a double play.
Even with the walks, he was around the plate all night. In a string of 11 batters -- from Stewart in the second to Lind in the fifth -- Lester threw only 11 balls. He also avoided long at-bats. Only five of his 27 batters saw more than five pitches in an at-bat, and no one saw more than seven.
I would have sent Lester out for the ninth on a short leash, but Tito went with Papelbon. Bot struck out Rios and Stairs before Rolen doubled to left-center. Wells then ripped a shot by Bot's head. It seemed headed for center field, but Pedroia dove to his right, snared the ball on a high hop, spun and fired a strike to first. It was a phenomenal play -- as eye-popping as the one he made to preserve Buchholz's no-hitter -- and it kept the game at 0-0.
For 8.2 innings, the Red Sox did as much with Halladay as the Jays did with Lester. They managed only three singles: Youkilis in the second, Brandon Moss (who took over for Drew when he left in the fourth because of a tight left quad muscle) in the fifth, and Varitek in the eighth.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Ortiz whacked a 2-0 pitch to deeeeep right field, but foul. Was Halladay -- at 106 pitches -- rattled? Perhaps. He threw two more balls to Tiz, walking him. Manny then dropped a 1-0 pitch into center, moving Ortiz to second. Francona could have pinch-run Lowrie for Flo, but with a short bench, he thought he might need Lowrie to fill in for Pedroia -- who had jammed his shoulder making the diving stop on Wells.
Youkilis looked at a ball, then lined a hit to center. Ortiz came chugging around third. Wells bobbled the ball, and there was no throw to the infield. Tiz came across the plate with the winning run, but he was limping.
It's great to see such strong starting pitching and although Boston has scored only two runs in their last 32 innings, the bats will return.
Roy Halladay (3.73, 113 ERA+) / Jon Lester (5.40, 83 ERA+)
Three-way tie for first in the East between Baltimore (14-11), Tampa Bay (14-11) and Boston (15-12).
The Rays and Orioles play at Camden Yards, while the Yankees host the Tigers.