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Lester's 15 Ks lead Red Sox over A's
Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jon Lester had a career-high 15 strikeouts, giving up just one hit in eight scoreless innings, and the Boston Red Sox survived a sloppy ninth to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Saturday.
Lester (3-4) finally got some run support from his teammates, who had scored just 12 in the six previous games he started this season.
The left-handed ace didn't need more than one of them until the ninth inning, when Chris Capuano put the first four batters on without getting an out and the A's rallied for three runs before Koji Uehara shut them down for his seventh save.
Jonny Gomes hit a grand slam for Boston and David Ortiz and David Ross added solo blasts, all off A's starter Tommy Milone (0-3), who went just four-plus innings.
The Red Sox won the opener of the three-game homestand 7-1 on Friday after losing both games of a doubleheader to Tampa Bay on Thursday.
Lester gave up 12 runs -- seven earned -- over 11 2/3 innings in his last two starts but threw 76 of his 119 pitches for strikes and mixed power and command against the A's, Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
"He was locked in from the first pitch," said Farrell.
Milone threw 29 pitches in the first inning. Gomes saw just one of them, a 76 mph curveball he lined into the seats on top of the Green Monster to give the Red Sox an early 4-0 lead.
"I'm leaving balls up and over the middle of the plate," said Milone. "I need to do a better job of throwing more quality strikes and keeping the ball low."
The blast came after Dustin Pedroia hit a grand slam in Friday's win for his 100th career home run.
Ortiz led off the third inning with his sixth home run of the season, knocking an 0-2 changeup into the right-field seats.
Lester had nine strikeouts in the first four innings, including five in a row after giving up his only hit -- Craig Gentry's leadoff single in the third.
Ross' leadoff homer in the fourth inning, into the Green Monster seats, also came on a changeup to make it 6-0, and the Red Sox coasted behind Lester until the A's jumped on left-hander Capuano in the ninth.
Nick Punto led off with a ground-rule double, Coco Crisp followed with a single and both runners scored after Jed Lowrie doubled to left field.
Crisp made it home all the way from first after Gomes' throw missed the cutoff man and got past the catcher Ross on the third-base side.
Capuano then hit Josh Donaldson on the toe and threw a first-pitch ball to Yoenis Cespedes before he was replaced by closer Uehara, who walked Cespedes to load the bases.
The first out came when Derek Norris grounded softly to Uehara and he threw home for a force, but a run scored after Ross overthrew first base trying to get a double play. Uehara struck out Alberto Callaspo and got pinch-hitter Brandon Moss on a line drive to right, ending the game.
The Red Sox are 3-2 on an eight-game homestand ... The A's have dropped the first two games in Boston after coming off a three-game sweep of the Rangers on the road. They are 5-4 on a 10-game road trip.
05/04 03:29:52 ET
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