Jon Lester struck out a career-high 15 batters and allowed just one hit over eight scoreless innings this afternoon in a 6-3 victory over the Athletics in Fenway Park in Boston.
It was a dominant performance from Lester, who walked two batters on the day and gave up his lone hit on a single by Craig Gentry in the third inning. The southpaw struck out the final three batters he faced in the eighth inning and was pulled after throwing 119 pitches. The A’s made things interesting after Chris Capuano took over in the top of the ninth inning, but Koji Uehara managed to snuff out the rally to secure the victory, albeit in shaky fashion.
Lester’s previous career-high for strikeouts was 13, which he did on July 24, 2010 against the Mariners. The 30-year-old is the first Red Sox pitcher to strike out 15 batters in a game since Pedro Martinez did it in 2000.
Lester, an impending free agent, now holds a 2.59 ERA and 58/10 K/BB ratio in 48 2/3 innings over seven starts this season. Perhaps the Red Sox should have been a bit more generous during extension talks in the spring?
Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson managed to get ejected while hitting a home run.
Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.
With the score 2-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 AL MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.
Manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.
Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.
Donaldson also had argued with Bellino on a 1-1 breaking ball in the first inning that appeared to be high but was called a strike, leading to a strikeout.
“We need Josh on the field, out there playing, and at third base,” Baldelli said. “That’s when we’re at our best. And so that’s really the end of it. I think we can move past it at his point, and go from here.”
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