BOSTON (AP) — Jon Lester got his mistake out of the way early. He didn’t make any others.
Lester struck out 11 over seven innings, keeping Boston close until the Red Sox started hitting late in a 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.
Lester (4-1) outpitched Dan Haren, who entered with a 1.23 ERA and allowed just two hits over the first five innings.
“It’s fun to have those battles every once in a while and see who’s going to make the first mistake. I did early,” Lester said.
“We just tried to hang around the best we could and keep them within striking distance.”
Lester’s only gaffe was an 0-2 pitch to Mark Trumbo, who drove it over the Green Monster and put the Angels up 1-0 in the second.
Lester stayed calm and didn’t allow any of the other Angels beyond second base before Boston went to the bullpen in the eighth inning.
“He pitched so well after that he gave us a chance,” manager Terry Francona said. “We didn’t do anything early.”
Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz hit consecutive homers in the eighth, and Marco Scutaro added a two-run homer later in the inning for the Red Sox, who have won three straight and are within a game of .500.
Los Angeles has contributed to Boston’s recovery from an 0-6 start. The Red Sox have won all six games against the Angels this season, accounting for almost half of Los Angeles’ 14 losses. Boston has also won 15 of 16 meetings dating to last season.
“It’s not losing 15 out of 16 to, no disrespect, like the Mariners or the Pirates. It’s the Boston Red Sox. They’re a good ballclub,” Haren said. “In order to do 15 out of 16 you’ve got to have a little luck on your side. A lot of things have to happen, because it’s not that easy.”
The Red Sox finally got to Haren (4-2) with four hits in the sixth and two more in the seventh as they rallied for a 3-1 lead.
“Danny pitched a great game,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We need to get into our game, especially on the offensive side.”
Gonzalez and Ortiz hit Boston’s first consecutive homers this season to start the eighth inning. Three batters later, Marco Scutaro hit a two-run drive over the Green Monster.
Boston brought on closer Jonathan Papelbon with a 7-1 lead in the ninth. Papelbon gave up three straight hits, including Erick Aybar’s RBI double, then allowed Trumbo’s sacrifice fly before getting the final two outs.
Gonzalez’s RBI single tied the score in the sixth and he scored on Jed Lowrie’s single for a 2-1 lead. Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit an RBI double in the seventh, and Gonzalez led off the eighth with his first home run at Fenway since he was acquired by the Red Sox. That was Haren’s final pitch of the night.
Ortiz then homered off Hisanori Takahashi.
NOTES: The Red Sox are 12-6 following a 2-9 start… Tuesday was the 8,000th game in Angels history. The first was a 7-2 win over Baltimore on April 11, 1961, when Ted Kluszewski homered twice and had five RBIs… CF Jacoby Ellsbury, who left Monday night’s game with a bruised left knee contusion after he tripped over C Jeff Mathis, was back in the leadoff spot and extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)