Red Sox - 004 005 001 - 10 13 0Lester could not hold an early 4-0 lead (as six Sox reached base after two were outs in the third) and David Aarsdma and Manny Delcarmen frittered away a 9-6 advantage.
Astros - 005 010 23x - 11 14 0
Dustin Pedroia continued his torrid hitting, collecting four singles in five trips. He is 10-for-14 (.714) in his last three games and 17-for-27 (.630) in his last six games.
Mike Lowell also had four hits, including two doubles and a solo home run. Lowell and Kevin Youkilis each drove in three runs and Manny Ramirez knocked in two.
Broadcast Note: Had the Astros FSN feed on mlbtv. Its Aflac trivia question: "Why did the Red Sox sell Babe Ruth?" My first guess? "Because he was a selfish, rule-ignoring, egomaniac who partied every single night."
I had a feeling, however, this would not be the Aflac answer. And I was right: "So owner Harry Frazee could finance his Broadway productions." ... There is nothing quite like seeing myths that have been throughly debunked well over a decade ago -- and said debunking given considerable publicity over the last 10 years -- being proclaimed as fact by people who work in baseball every single day.
Tampa Bay also lost -- 4-3 in 13 innings to Pittsburgh -- so the .5-game lead remains.
Jon Lester (3.13, 137 ERA+) / Brandon Backe (4.82, 88 ERA+)
Lester's last 4 starts: 27.2 IP, 30 H, 3 BB, 16 K, 1.63 ERA
Lester's last 7 starts: 46.2 IP, 44 H, 10 BB, 32 K, 2.12 ERA
Lester is becoming one stingy innings-eater for the Boston Red Sox. In the month of June, he hasn't given up more than two runs in any outing while at least pitching into the seventh inning in all four starts. He's 5-1 since the beginning of May, and the Sox have won each of the five outings he's pitched in since May 31.Looking at Backe's previous performances against the Red Sox is pointless; they were in 2002 and 2003 (two games each season).
Backe earned his first win in a month when he beat the Rays in his last outing. The right-hander yielded a two-run homer to Evan Longoria in the second inning but held the Rays scoreless through the remainder of his 6.2 innings. Backe has appeared in four games against the Red Sox, all in relief. He has allowed eight runs over 5.1 innings for a 13.50 ERA.
Also: Yankees/Mets (4 PM) and Rays/Pirates (7 PM).