April 21, 2018
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Boston’s Lester one-hits Blue Jays in complete-game effort

By The Sports Xchange, Special to the BDN

BOSTON — Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester was perfect through 5 2/3 innings until Toronto’s No. 9 batter, Maicer Izturis, hit a first-pitch double.

Though Lester lost his bid for a no-hitter, he earned the win as the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays, 5-0, on Friday night.

Lester pitched a complete game and improved to 5-0. Izturis was the only baserunner Lester allowed.

“The no-hitter, perfect game, all that stuff, the stars got to be perfectly aligned for you,” Lester said. “It’s one of those deals, you can’t pitch to that. You got to pitch your game, keep attacking. The ball that Izturis hit was a first-pitch changeup down and way. Good pitch, what we wanted to throw especially to an aggressive hitter. He did a good job of hitting it.”

“It’s more the location to the stuff and the feel that he had for his changeup in the early part of the game,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “It wasn’t a matter of the just pure stuff. It was more the location and his ability to change speeds.”

“He’s pitched against us pretty well,” said Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia. “I’ve played against him for three years and he’ll have his good games. But I think that’s definitely probably the sharpest that I’ve seen him today attacking us.”

Right-hander Ramon Ortiz, making his second appearance and first start of the season for the Blue Jays, went five innings, giving up one run on four hits and five walks (one intentional) with one strikeout. Ortiz took the loss, falling to 0-1.

“He did a tremendous job. He kept us right there,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. “The game got out of hand on guys in the seventh. he did everything and more than we wanted to and expected. Good for him.”

“He just battled the whole time,” Arencibia said. “I think he made a lot of good pitches. We had probably more opportunities to get out of innings than it even showed. Even for just keeping them at one, there was a lot of times we could have been out of the inning that we didn’t get that last out or something. But he did a great job.”

Boston scored in the second when Daniel Nava reached on a one-out walk, taking third on Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s single, and scoring when shortstop Maicer Izturis committed an error on Will Middlebrooks’ groundball.

The Red Sox scored four runs in the seventh inning, when they sent eight batters to the plate. Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, and Dustin Pedroia opened the inning with consecutive singles off Brett Cecil, with Ellsbury scoring. After striking out Ortiz, Cecil’s outing was done, with Mickey Storey replacing him. Storey struck out Mike Napoli before consecutive doubles by Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia scored three runs, giving Boston a 5-0 lead.

NOTES: Right-hander Brandon Morrow was originally scheduled to start Friday in Boston, then was pushed back till Sunday because of spasms in his upper back and neck. Morrow is in Florida being evaluated and the Blue Jays won’t know more about his status until closer to Sunday … Some candidates in the Blue Jays organization to help in their major league rotation include Chad Jenkins and Sean Nolin, at Double-A New Hampshire, who both recently returned from injuries, and Marcus Stroman, their first-round pick in 2012, who was suspended in the final month last season after testing positive for an over-the-counter banned substance. He is eligible to be reinstated May 19 … Right-hander Michael Schwimer was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list on Friday and was assigned to Triple-A Buffalo after missing the start of the season because of a shoulder injury … Andrew Bailey, on the disabled list since April 29 with a right biceps strain, threw Friday afternoon, the second consecutive day he has thrown since going on the DL, getting out to 105 feet … Right-hander John Lackey will make his next start on Tuesday, the opening game of the three-game series at Tampa Bay … Left-hander Felix Doubront, who struggled in his last two outings, is scheduled to make his next start on Thursday at Tampa Bay…Right-hander Clay Buchholz and Jack Morris, the former pitcher and now Blue Jays broadcaster, were talking on the field during batting practice. Morris made pointed remarks last week when the Sox were in Toronto directed at Buchholz, and Junichi Tazawa, alleging the pitchers doctor their pitches. It appeared Buchholz and Morris smoothed things over.

Tigers 10, Indians 4: Long home runs by Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, plus a solid start Friday night by Max Scherzer, helped the Detroit Tigers cool off the Cleveland Indians, 10-4.

Cabrera reached 40 RBI on the season with a drive to left center that hit just below the names of Hall of Fame members Ty Cobb and Hank Greenberg, while Fielder put his solo shot an estimated 460 feet away off the brick wall in right center.

Scherzer (5-0) allowed five hits in eight innings — just one in the second through sixth — while striking out seven. Joaquin Benoit pitched the ninth.

Andy Dirks got into the home run swing with a solo shot to right in the seventh, his third, to put Detroit ahead 9-4 after Cleveland had scored twice in the top of the inning.

Nick Swisher’s single, his third hit, and a double by Carlos Santana put runners at second and third. A groundout by Mark Reynolds and a sacrifice fly by Michael Brantley scored Swisher and Santana.

Cleveland had won four straight and 10 of 11 entering the game. Detroit has now taken five of its last seven and eight of its last 11.

Victor Martinez had an RBI single in the eighth that produced an unearned run for the Tigers.

Cabrera’s seventh home run of the season, a three-run blast that nearly hit the brick wall in left center, came with two out in the fifth and expanded Detroit’s lead to 7-2. Omar Infante doubled with one out and Austin Jackson followed with a single to set up Cabrera. Alex Avila drove in his second run of the night with a single up the middle in the fifth to make it 8-2.

Cleveland narrowed the gap with a hustle triple to right by Swisher with one out in the fourth. Santana brought Swisher home by grounding out to second making the score 4-2.

Fielder’s ninth home run was an estimated 460-foot drive to right center that bounced off the brick wall behind the stands just between two retired numbers — Sparky Anderson’s 11 and the 42 that represents Jackie Robinson’s number. It put Detroit up, 4-1.

But it was a two-run double to extreme right field by Avila in the second inning that shot Detroit past Cleveland in a three-run inning that gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead.

Martinez walked and Jhonny Peralta blooped a one-out double into short left near the foul line before Avila ripped a 3-0 pitch by Cory Kluber (2-2) that erased a 1-0 Indians’ lead.

Infante doubled and Torii Hunter singled to right, but only Avila was able to score before Hunter was tagged out rounding first too far. Infante crossed the plate too — but after Hunter was tagged out to end the inning.

Doubles by Jason Kipnis and Swisher in the first inning off Scherzer gave Cleveland a 1-0 lead.

NOTES: OF/IF Ryan Raburn returned to Detroit for the first time Friday as a member of the Cleveland Indians. Raburn was let go by Detroit, the organization which drafted and brought him to the big leagues, at the end of last season following a disappointing 2012 season during which he was booed heavily and often by fans. “I’d come to the park thinking, ‘What’s going to happen today,’” said Raburn, who made Cleveland as a nonroster free agent. “I forgot how much fun this game is. It wasn’t much fun for me last year.” … LHP Phil Coke has made two scoreless rehab appearances this week and might be activated any day. Manager Jim Leyland skated around the question of when Coke would return, a sign it could come as soon as following Friday night’s game or on Saturday. He has been out with a left groin strain since April 26. … Manager Terry Francona plans to be careful with CF Michael Bourn, who just returned to action after being disabled with a right finger laceration. “He’s only played two games. We’ve got a night game, a night game, a day game and a doubleheader. I’ll keep my eyes on it.” … Detroit’s bullpen has been outstanding of late. Tigers’ relievers entered Friday night’s game with the Indians having allowed a 1.39 ERA over the previous 12 games with two wins and 39 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings. … Cleveland entered Friday with 49 home runs, most in the baseball.

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