Red Sox - 000 010 100 - 2 9 0Lester (6-6-5-3-4, 100) faltered in the fifth inning, with Justin Morneau's three-run line drive home run to right being the big blow. Lester's ERA rose to 6.07.
Twins - 000 050 00x - 5 7 1
Jacoby Ellsbury scored both Red Sox runs. He also singled to begin the game, and extend his hit streak to 21 games. He stole two bases and made a tremendous diving catch in deep right-center in the fifth inning, before the Twins did their damage. He scored on Dustin Pedroia's double in the fifth and on an infield error in the seventh.
David Ortiz doubled to right center in his first time up and walked in the fourth. He finished his night with a strikeout and pop out to left.
The Minnesota fifth: Brendan Harris singled, Delmon Young lined out to deep center, Matt Tolbert singled, Nick Punto singled (RBI), Denard Span grounded out to second (RBI), Joe Mauer walked, Morneau homered (3 RBI), Michael Cuddyer grounded out to third.
Jon Lester (5.91, 83 ERA+) / Nick Blackburn (3.83, 112 ERA+)
Lester and Blackburn hooked up back on July 8, 2008; Boston won the game 6-5. It was the last appearance each pitcher had against the opposing team.
Jacoby Ellsbury's hitting streak has reached 20 games, but he's not having a good year at the plate. His slash stats since the streak began on May 2: .330/.365/.418 for a .782 OPS -- which is below what Nick Green has done this season (.794). LBJ has collected only one hit in nine of his last 11 games: .275/.310/.350.
Ellsbury has drawn five walks during the streak (96 PA). He has walked only 10 times all year, in 201 PA. In five fewer trips to the plate, Jason Bay has walked 24 more times (34 in 196).
Ellsbury's season stats are .300/.333/.374 for a paltry 79 OPS+. (For reference: Jeff Bailey is at 86 and Julio Lugo is at 73.) Lyndon has led off in all but three of Boston's 45 games and the Red Sox are 9th in the AL in leadoff batter OBP.
Finally, in his 12 stolen base attempts during the streak, he has been caught four times.
My suggested lineup for tonight (Lowell has a scheduled night off):
I'm not crazy about Ellsbury batting 6th, but if he was on first base, Tek and Lugo might get some tasty fastballs.R - Pedroia, 2B
L - Drew, RF
R - Youkilis, 3B
R - Bay, LF
L - Ortiz, DH
L - Ellsbury, CF
S - Varitek, C
R - Lugo, SS
R - Bailey, 1B