Jon Lester burnished his All-Star credentials while his Boston teammates played home run derby.
Lester pitched six innings to win his third consecutive start and the Red Sox hit four homers in a 14-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night, giving manager Terry Francona his 900th career win.
“I didn’t really have to do a whole lot,” Lester said. “The guys swung the bats really well and I just tried to keep getting these guys in the dugout as quick as possible.”
Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron and Bill Hall connected for Boston, which snapped a four-game skid and improved to 6-1 against the Blue Jays this season. Hall finished with three hits and four RBIs.
“We kept getting big hits and bigger hits and bigger hits,” Hall said. “It’s always fun when you can have a game like that.”
Boston was coming off a three-game sweep at Tampa Bay that included two one-run losses. With this one in hand, Francona started to take out his regulars in the fourth inning.
“I think we kind of needed that, not just for guys getting rest, but to play with a lead was really good for us tonight,” Francona said.
Lester (11-3) allowed two runs and four hits, struck out six and walked two. He is 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his last three starts and has won 11 of 12 decisions overall.
“I’ve said this before, I think he should definitely be the starter in the All-Star game,” Hall said. “He’s pitched that well. I think he’s that dominant and I think he deserves it.”
The left-hander will find out Monday if he will get the first crack at the National League on Tuesday night in Anaheim, Calif.
“It would be a lot of fun,” Lester said. “I’m excited, I’m ready to go. I don’t really know what to tell you about emotions because I’ve never done it but it’ll be a lot of fun. We’ll see what happens.”
John McDonald and Jose Molina went deep for the Blue Jays, who lead the major leagues with 132 homers. Boston is second with 116.
The 14 runs were the most allowed this season by Toronto, which lost 13-12 to the Red Sox on April 26.
Hall hit a two-run homer off Ricky Romero in Boston’s three-run second and the Red Sox broke it open with seven runs in the third, sending 12 men to the plate.
Youkilis and Hall each hit a sacrifice fly, Cameron drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk and Marco Scutaro had a two-run single.
”It’s good to be on that side of it,” Cameron said. “It’s terrible to be on the other side.”
Boston added three more in the fourth, all on homers. Youkilis led off with his 18th and Beltre followed with his 13th, the third time this season the Red Sox have hit consecutive shots. One out later, Cameron drilled a homer to left, his third.
In the outfield hotel, a fan wearing a Blue Jays jersey responded by waving a white towel out his window.
”They kicked out butts again,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “That was probably one of the worst games we’ve had all year.”
Toronto right-hander Casey Janssen was ejected in the sixth for arguing with third base umpire Mark Carlson, even though the umpires later ruled Janssen was correct.
Cameron hustled home from first on Hall’s double down the right-field line but the ball was touched by a fan. Janssen argued Cameron should have been stopped at third.
After the pitcher left the field, the umpires huddled to discuss the play and sent Cameron back to third. Left-hander David Purcey came in and got Kevin Cash to fly out.
“I’m an emotional pitcher and you never want to give up a run, right or wrong,” Janssen said. “It was good that they got it right.”
Romero (6-6) allowed nine runs, five earned, and five hits in 2 1-3 innings. It was the second straight poor start by Romero, who allowed eight runs over 2 2-3 innings in an 11-3 loss to the Yankees on July 3.
“These past two starts, I’ve gotten my (butt) kicked,” Romero said. “There’s no other way to put it. It’s pathetic.”