Lester eyes another win as Red Sox tangle with Padres

Jon Lester shoots for a third straight win on Wednesday when the Boston Red Sox continue a three-game series with the San Diego Padres at Fenway Park.

Lester won again on Thursday against Toronto, but was not especially sharp, as he allowed four runs and five hits with three walks over seven innings, but still improved to 8-4 to go along with a 4.61 ERA.

Still and all, he is 2-4 with a 6.99 ERA in his last eight starts, and opponents are hitting .316 against him. Also, he was pulled from his last outing after aggravating a hip injury.

"Based on all the maintenance work he (Lester) currently does, and the strength exams that he goes through, the range of motion is good," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of his left-hander's availability on Wednesday. "There's nothing that is glaring."

San Diego, meanwhile, will counter with righty Edinson Volquez, who is 6-6 with a 5.50 ERA. Volquez defeated Miami on Friday, as he held the Marlins to a pair of runs and seven hits in six innings.

"I felt great. Everything was working tonight," said Volquez, did not get a decision in his only other start versus the Red Sox. "I just want to be aggressive in the strike zone, not walk too many hitters and stay in the game six or seven innings."

Boston drew first blood in this series on Tuesday, as John Lackey tossed eight outstanding innings and Brandon Snyder delivered a three-run double that helped the Red Sox claim a 4-1 victory.

Lackey (6-5) limited the Padres to six hits and struck out six with just one walk to improve to 5-1 over his last nine starts. The veteran right-hander's only blemish of the evening came when Jesus Guzman homered to lead off the top of the seventh inning.

"Once again, very good command, a lot of strikes. An outstanding performance on his part," Farrell said. "All this is based on the work that John has put in and it's great to see it taking place."

Jose Iglesias finished 2-for-3 with an RBI single in the win, the sixth in seven games for the AL-leading Red Sox, who received two hits as well from Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz and Jonny Gomes.

San Diego, meanwhile, was dealt a fourth straight loss and has mustered a mere four runs during that stretch.

Guzman accounted for two of the Padres' six hits. San Diego starter Robbie Erlin (1-1) lasted just 3 2/3 innings, surrendering three runs on five hits and walking three batters.

This is just the fifth series between these teams, but the first since San Diego took two of three in Beantown in 2011.