BALTIMORE (AP) — Jon Lester insisted he was victimized by bad luck, even though the box score suggested otherwise.
The Boston Red Sox left-hander yielded five runs and nine hits in five innings against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday in a 6-3 defeat.
“It was a lot better than the linescore as far as the ball came out of my hand,” Lester said. “Obviously the results weren’t there.”
Lester (6-4) came into the game with 14-1 lifetime record against the Orioles, including 7-0 at Camden Yards. In this one, Chris Davis homered and had three RBIs for Baltimore, which won three of four from the first-place Red Sox to close within 1½ games of the AL East lead.
Lester struck out eight and walked none. When someone suggested he was hit hard, Lester retorted, “I wouldn’t say they hit them hard. Four broken bat hits. Not really hitting the ball hard — with the exception of the one homer. I missed the side of the plate we were trying to go to. The ball was down in the zone. Probably the best cutter I had all year.”
Maybe, but Davis hit it far over the right-field wall for a 3-0 lead in the third. The Orioles slugger was 0 for 14 lifetime against Lester before connecting.
“I was able to get ahead of him and get a good pitch to drive,” Davis said.
It was his 100th career homer and seventh in the last 10 games against Boston. Davis also doubled in a run in the fifth against Lester, sending the Orioles on their way to their 14th win in 19 games against the Red Sox, including five of seven this season.
“They don’t beat themselves,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “Typically they throw strikes, they’re not going to issue many walks. They play very sound defense and they have the ability to score a couple of runs on the swing of a bat.”
Manny Machado extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games and drove in a run for the Orioles, who have won six straight series over the Red Sox, dating to last year.
Before going 13-5 against Boston in 2012, the Orioles hadn’t taken a season series from the Red Sox since 2004. The metamorphosis is even more apparent when gauging their performance against Lester.
“Obviously we have a different group here,” Davis said.
Will Middlebrooks hit a three-run homer for the Red Sox and Jose Iglesias stretched his hitting streak to 17 games with an eighth-inning single.
Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez (5-2) took a two-hitter and a 5-0 lead into the seventh. He ended up allowing three runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings to improve to 3-0 lifetime against Boston.
“It was fun to watch our hitters hit, especially against Lester,” Gonzalez said. “He’s been doing a great job this year and always pitched well against us.”
Jim Johnson worked the ninth for his AL-leading 25th save and second in the series.
The Orioles outscored Boston 17-12 in the series and had 14 hits, seven for extra bases, in the finale.
Baltimore took control with a three-run third. After Adam Jones doubled in a run, Davis hit a drive far over the right-field wall.
In the fifth, Markakis doubled and scored on a single by Machado before Davis hit a two-out RBI double for a 5-0 lead.
Middlebrooks made it interesting with his ninth home run, closing the gap to 5-3 in the seventh. In the bottom half, however, Markakis doubled and scored on a single by J.J. Hardy.
NOTES: Boston’s Mike Carp left in the seventh inning with tightness in his right hamstring. … A crowd of 41,311 pushed the Orioles over the 1 million mark after 35 home dates. … Machado hit his major league-leading 32nd double, his fifth in five games. … Actor Richard Gere threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He was wearing an Orioles jersey with the word “DAD” on the back. … Red Sox RHP Pedro Beato pitched the sixth after being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket earlier in the day. … Farrell says RHP Clay Buchholz (neck) could go on the DL if he can’t throw his bullpen session on Tuesday. Buchholz (9-0, 1.71 ERA) hasn’t pitched since June 8. Alfredo Aceves will be recalled from Pawtucket to start in Tuesday’s doubleheader against Tampa Bay. … Jake Arreita will start Monday in Detroit for ailing Jason Hammel, who hopes to pitch Tuesday. … Lester has yielded six homers in his last three starts after giving up five in his first 12 starts.