Jon Lester’s brilliance and a three-run second inning against Tim Lincecum propelled the Boston Red Sox to a 7-0 series-opening win on Monday night.
“Securing” a victory in the second inning is rare, but for Lester, three runs was plenty.
That three-run second inning included a Lincecum balk and a catcher’s inference call on Buster Posey.
The right-hander’s right ankle slipped and twisted, causing his motion towards home plate to collapse, and of course, garner the balk. This came after he allowed a lead-off single to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, issued a walk to Daniel Nava and yielded another single to Stephen Drew. After Will Middlebrooks lifted a sacrifice fly to left field, Lincecum handed the Red Sox a freebie.
Shane Victorino’s RBI single later in the inning made it 3-0. Jacoby Ellsbury, who worked the count full, was award first base after narrowly hitting Posey’s glove. He didn’t come around to score, but the extra pitches and clean slate could’ve affected the ensuing events.
Lincecum made it through just five innings, as Ellsbury’s lead-off single in the sixth inning prompted Bruce Bochy to replace his starter. The Red Sox charged Lincecum with five earned runs on nine hits. He walked four and struck out four.
In relief, Guillermo Moscoso pitched three scoreless innings.
Lester’s outing, on the other hand, didn’t unravel until the ninth inning. And really, it never unraveled. A pair of back-to-back singles off the bats of Posey and Pence wiped away Lester’s hopes of his second career complete game at AT&T Park. He whirled won back in 2010.
San Francisco’s six hits were scattered, and Andres Torres had three of them, two of which weren’t hit incredibly hard. A sixth-inning rally ended in two softly hit line drives, and an eighth-inning rally was erased with a double play grounder. That was all the noise the Giants made against Boston’s lefty.
Boston added to their 5-0 lead in the ninth inning, as Saltalamacchia collected an RBI double and Nava singled him home, charging two runs to Jose Mijares’ ERA. Dustin Pedroia’s single with one out started the rally. And Pence, who positied himself more towards the line, couldn’t catch up to Pedroia’s line drive that rolled all the way to the wall in right center field. Thinking better of testing the relay throw, the second baseman put the brakes on as he rounded third base.