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(Thursday, April 17th)
Final Score: Boston 3, Chicago 1
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Jon Lester outdueled Chris Sale and the Boston Red Sox rallied for a pair of runs in the ninth inning to beat the Chicago White Sox, 3-1, in the finale of a three-game series Thursday night.
Lester (2-2) was perfect into the sixth inning and Sale had a no-hitter into the sixth until Xander Bogaerts belted a solo home run with two outs for the game's first hit and the only one allowed by Sale.
"A heavyweight bout," said Lester. "It was kind of who was going to make the mistake first. He did, and then I gave it right back. It was a fun night to pitch. If you don't like that you don't like baseball."
David Ross hit an RBI double off Ronald Belisario (1-2) in the ninth inning and Jonathan Herrera knocked in the second run on a bunt off Scott Downs.
The Red Sox won the last two games of the set -- Wednesday's went 14 innings -- to end a seven-game road trip 3-4. The White Sox went 4-3 on a seven-game homestand.
Boston had scored five runs in Lester's first three starts this season, and he lost his last two outings despite striking out 12, walking three and giving up just 13 hits and four earned runs in 14 innings.
They didn't give him much more Thursday, but it was plenty.
The lefty threw 112 pitches in eight innings -- 15 fewer than Sale in seven -- and 75 went for strikes. He fanned nine and gave up one run on seven hits and no walks. Sale struck out 10 in his one-hitter and walked three.
"Both those guys were great tonight," said Chicago manager Robin Ventura. "Once the no-hitters were out of the way we had some chances and we didn't get it done. Jon was tough. He was making it tough on everyone out there and in the end he won that game."
Alexei Ramirez stroked a line-drive single off Koji Uehara with two outs in the ninth inning to extend his hitting streak to 16 games -- breaking Frank Thomas' 1996 record for the longest season-opening run in franchise history.
Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli was back in the lineup after missing one game with a dislocated finger he suffered sliding into second base in the ninth inning of Tuesday's series opener.
Napoli singled with one out in the ninth to start Boston's rally. Mike Carp followed with a pinch-hit single and Napoli scored on Ross' go-ahead double down the right-field line. Pinch-runner Grady Sizemore later scored on the Herrera pushed bunt on the right side of the infield.
Earlier, White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton leapt at the wall to steal a home run from David Ortiz for the final out in the top of the first inning. It was the closest either team came to a hit until five innings later.
Sale had faced two batters over the minimum -- a walk and a hit batter -- when Bogaerts sent a 1-0 fastball into the left-field seats through with two outs in the sixth, his second career home run.
Lester's perfect game was broken up with one out in the bottom of the sixth on Tyler Flowers' single to shallow left-center field, which Bogaerts dove to knock down behind the infield dirt.
Leury Garcia followed with a ground-rule double over the right-field wall and Chicago tied the game on Eaton's hit to the right side of the infield when Lester couldn't cover first base in time.
Chicago's Adam Dunn was thrown out at home in the seventh inning on Alejandro De Aza's double to right fielder Daniel Nava. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia's relay throw got Dunn to end the inning.
Uehara earned his third save ... With Lester twirling a perfect game, Ramirez tried to bunt in the fifth inning and ended up striking out ... The White Sox start a seven-game road trip Friday at Texas ... The Red Sox go back to Boston to begin a seven-game homestand Friday against Baltimore.
04/18 01:09:29 ET
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