The Boston Red Sox aim to stay perfect on their nine-game homestand when they resume a four-game series versus the Toronto Blue Jays Friday at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox took the opener of this series with Thursday's 7-4 win behind a decent outing from Jon Lester. Lester improved to 8-4 and allowed four runs and five hits in seven innings, while Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara each threw a scoreless inning of relief. Uehara posted his third save.
Lester altered his mechanics after his previous start and the changes helped him reach the win column.
"I think that was the biggest thing for me tonight, was just how we were able to stay down in the zone throughout the entire night," Lester said. "So yeah, I was really happy with how I threw the ball tonight."
A seven-run second inning also aided Lester. Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run home run during the big inning, while Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Nava, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Stephen Drew and Jose Iglesias had an RBI apiece.
Boston, which has won the first three tests on this homestand and owns a 26-15 record at Fenway Park, is 3 1/2 games ahead of Baltimore for the AL East lead and 4 1/2 games in front of New York. Toronto, though, is last at 7 1/2 games off the pace.
Allen Webster looks to keep the Red Sox rolling on this residency when he toes the rubber for the fourth time in his career. The young Webster is 0-2 in his first three starts to go along with an 11.25 earned run average and has allowed 13 runs in his last two appearances -- both losses. He gave up five runs in 4 1/3 innings of a 10-3 loss at Detroit last Saturday.
Webster, a right-hander, has never faced Toronto and is filling in while Clay Buchholz nurses a sore neck.
The Blue Jays have lost three of four games since their season-high 11-game winning streak and didn't get much from starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang in Thursday's opener in Beantown.
Wang was rocked in just 1 2/3 innings and allowed all seven runs in the second inning. He walked two and allowed six hits with no strikeouts.
"I mean, he looked good that first inning, getting some ground balls," Jays manager John Gibbons said. "That second inning, the ball was coming up and they didn't miss them."
Maicer Izturis had two hits and two RBI and Rajai Davis finished 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored in defeat.
First-year Blue Jay Josh Johnson will tasked with stopping the Red Sox when he takes the mound Friday. Johnson is coming off the first win of the season, a 13-5 rout of the Orioles on Sunday. Even though he was touched for four runs and seven hits in six innings, Johnson pushed his record to 1-2 in eight starts with a 4.60 ERA.
Johnson is 0-2 on the road this season and 1-0 with a 3.15 ERA in three career starts against the Red Sox. He did not record a decision versus Boston up north in his Toronto debut on April 5, when he gave up four runs -- three earned -- and nine hits in six innings of a 6-4 loss.
Boston is 6-4 versus the Jays this season.