BOSTON (AP) — Jon Lester pitched into the eighth inning before leaving after jamming his right hip.
Still Lester pitched well and said he should be OK. Meanwhile, Dustin Pedroia homered in a seven-run second inning to help the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-4 in the opener of a four-game series last night.
Toronto, which reeled off 11 straight wins this month, had won 12 of its past 14 games and 15 of 19 to close within 6½ games of the AL East-leading Red Sox.
Then the Blue Jays ran into Lester.
The left-hander retired 10 straight to begin the game and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth. He came out after giving up consecutive singles to start the eighth and running the count to 3-0 on Emilio Bonifacio.
Red Sox manager John Farrell came darting out of the dugout as the infielders crowded around Lester. Moments later, Lester walked off the field and Junichi Tazawa came on in relief. Lester told reporters he believed he would be fine.
The Blue Jays capitalized, cutting the deficit to 7-4 on a sacrifice fly by Jose Reyes and a groundout by Jose Bautista.
Koji Uehara pitched a perfect ninth for his third save.
Lester (8-4) was charged with four runs on five hits with five strikeouts and three walks in winning for just the second time in his last eight starts.
After starting the season 6-0 with a 2.72 ERA through his first nine starts, Lester struggled over his past seven, going 1-4 with a 7.30 ERA.
He returned to form just in time to face baseball’s best team in June — and Boston’s bats provided him all the support he needed.