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August 20, 2013

Lester bounces back to shut down Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Jon Lester pitched into the ninth for his first victory in four tries this month, and the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox beat the San Francisco Giants 7-0 last night after flying cross-country earlier in the day.

Stephen Drew and Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit RBI doubles, Shane Victorino added an RBI single and Will Middlebrooks had a sacrifice fly for Boston. The Red Sox chose to travel first thing Monday rather than late Sunday night after a 9-6 loss to the Yankees at Fenway Park.

Lester (11-7) allowed six hits, struck out three and walked two in Boston’s seventh shutout. He outpitched two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum (6-13) to snap a three-start winless stretch since a victory at Baltimore on July 28. Lester gave way to Brandon Workman after allowing a pair of one-out singles in the ninth.

Lincecum was done after five-plus innings and lost for the fourth time in his last five decisions. Two of his four walks were intentional free passes to Middlebrooks.

Lester retired the first nine Giants in order before Andres Torres lined a single to left leading off the fourth. The Boston left-hander tossed a complete game in his lone other start against San Francisco, a five-hitter on June 27, 2010, at AT&T Park.

He nearly did it again.

Boston staked Lester to an early lead with three runs in the second — showing no signs of being weary from a 4-hour, 12-minute game Sunday night and then the travel. Will Middlebrooks hit a sacrifice fly and a balk by Lincecum forced in another run.

Torres also singled in the sixth and eighth innings to finish with three of San Francisco’s six hits and his first multihit game since June 29 at Colorado. The Giants were blanked for the 10th time.

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