BOSTON — Jon Lester pitched a one-hitter Friday night, allowing only Maicer Izturis’ two-out double in the sixth inning, and the Boston Red Sox broke a three-game losing streak with a 5-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Just nine days shy of the fifth anniversary of his no-hitter, the left-hander retired the first 17 batters before Izturis lined a clean double several feet over the outstretched arm of third baseman Will Middlebrooks that landed just inside the foul line. Lester then ended the inning by striking out pinch hitter Adam Lind.
Lester (5-0) allowed just one of the remaining nine batters to hit the ball out of the infield and finished with five strikeouts.
The closest the Blue Jays came to another hit was Brett Lawrie’s low liner starting the sixth that center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury caught easily.
Izturis was the only runner allowed by Lester, who pitched the third shutout and 10th complete game of his career. He was coming off two of the poorer performances of his outstanding season, both losses in which he didn’t get the decision.
Despite Lester’s brilliance, the Red Sox led just 1-0 through six innings. They scored in the second against Ramon Ortiz (0-1) when Daniel Nava walked, took third on a single by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and scored when shortstop Izturis fielded Middlebrooks’ grounder but his throw to start a potential inning-ending double play eluded second baseman Mark DeRosa.
The Red Sox finally built a comfortable lead with four runs in the seventh, making it 5-0.
Singles by Ellsbury and Shane Victorino put runners at first and second and they moved up on a wild pitch by Brett Cecil. Dustin Pedroia singled in a run, but the next two batters struck out. Then Saltalamacchia doubled in two runs and Middlebrooks drove in another with his second double of the game.
On May 19, 2008, at Fenway Park, Lester pitched his only no-hitter in a 7-0 win over the Kansas City Royals.
Friday’s outing was the fourth time he allowed just one hit while pitching at least seven innings — and the third time against Toronto.
The other two were over eight innings in a 1-0 win in Boston on April 29, 2008, and seven innings in a 2-0 win at Toronto on April 28, 2010. He also did it against Kansas City in eight innings of a 1-0 win on July 18, 2006.
Boston continued to waste numerous opportunities. It left runners on base in each of the first seven innings after stranding runners in all nine innings of Thursday night’s 5-3 win over the Minnesota Twins.
NOTES: Toronto designated hitter Rajai Davis left the game with a left oblique strain. Lind pinch hit for him in the sixth. ... Buchholz (6-0) pitches for Boston against Mark Buehrle (1-2) in the second game of the three-game series Saturday. ... Toronto’s six-game winning streak at Fenway ended.MORE IN Sports Wire
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