The Red Sox won their fourth straight game Monday night behind a dominant Jon Lester, taking out the Mariners 6-1 in Fenway Park.
The offense got to Jason Vargas early on, with a walk from Dustin Pedroia and doubles from David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez scoring two runs in the first inning.
Ultimately, those runs would have been enough for the Red Sox, too, because Jon Lester was on fire. Retiring the first 11 batters he faced, Lester only lost the perfect start on an infield single off of his own glove, and did not see a ball leave the infield until the fifth.
Still, the Sox would add a few more in the third on homers from Kelly Shoppach and the torrid Daniel Nava, and then found a sixth run in the eighth on a Marlon Byrd sacrifice fly.
The shutout would last into the ninth, where Lester finally gave up a run on an Ichiro Suzuki groundout. He would end the game quickly thereafter, however, striking out Alex Liddi on six pitches for the third out.
Lester Spot On: The biggest difference for Lester tonight was his ability to locate the fastball, which he used to paint corners and edges with regularity. An aggressive Mariners team was all-too-happy to turn those painted pitches into easy outs, with hard contact not coming until the later innings when he started to lose it outside the zone. Interestingly, that's also when he started picking up some more strikeouts, doubling his total in the last few innings.
Daniel Nava On Fire: Who is hitting .583/.750/1.167 in his first 18 trips to the plate? The 29-year-old outfielder who failed to make his original college team (he worked as the equipment manager instead), was cut from the non-affiliated Golden Baseball League, and since then has done nothing but succeed in the minors.
We saw last year evidence enough that this is not likely to last. Daniel Nava has been exposed before, and the smart money is on him being exposed again as pitchers adjust. But for every day he isn't, he adds to a tremendous story, and keeps that hope alive that it might be one with a tremendously happy ending.
Complete Game: Jon Lester joins Jake Peavy and Jered Weaver as the only pitchers with two complete games on the year. Lester has never had more than two in a season before. Now he'll have over four months to try and beat that record.