Toronto (63-57) at Boston (69-53)

Cloudy Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 29° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Fri Aug 20, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

As the Boston Red Sox attempt to get back in the playoff chase, they may not mind having the Toronto Blue Jays in town - and they’ll certainly be happy to have ace Jon Lester(notes) on the mound.

Lester looks to extend his 14 1-3-inning scoreless streak while the Red Sox seek a 10th victory in 13 meetings with the Blue Jays on Friday night.

Boston (69-53) also dominated its season series with Los Angeles, but its lone loss in 10 games against the Angels was a 7-2 defeat Thursday night.

That dropped the third-place Red Sox 6 1/2 games out of first in the AL East, and they also played without star second baseman Dustin Pedroia(notes). The 2008 AL MVP was activated from the disabled list Tuesday after recovering from a broken left foot, but Boston put him back on the DL prior to this game.

Boston struggled offensively without Pedroia, but the club has averaged 6.3 runs while going 9-3 against the Blue Jays this year.

The Red Sox may not need much offense if Lester (13-7, 2.80 ERA) continues to dominate. The left-hander lost his first four starts after the All-Star break, but has responded with outstanding performances in his last two outings.

Lester pitched 14 1-3 shutout innings in road victories over New York and Texas, both among the highest-scoring teams in the major leagues. He held the Rangers to five hits without a walk in eight innings of a 3-1 win Saturday.

“I try to finish the game every time I pitch,” Lester said. “I was just trying to take it one pitch and one inning at a time and I was able to do that tonight and give the bullpen a little break.”

The Blue Jays (63-57) have struggled to solve Lester, who is 5-1 with a 1.79 ERA against Toronto since the start of last year. He has posted a 1.38 ERA while winning both starts versus the Blue Jays in 2010.

Toronto sends Brett Cecil(notes) (9-6, 3.96) to the mound in search of his first win over the Red Sox. He has posted a 7.80 ERA in losing all three starts against Boston, but kept the Blue Jays in the game against Lester in a 2-0 home loss April 28.

Cecil will try to rebound from his first loss in seven starts. After getting seven days off, he gave up seven runs and 10 hits - three homers - in 5 2-3 innings of a 7-2 defeat to the Angels on Saturday.

The left-hander struggled with his velocity.

“We had a chat with him to see if he was hurt or whatever, he just said: `Nothing comes out,’” manager Cito Gaston said. “Right now, I guess it’s just due to all the time he had off.”

Cecil has allowed seven homers in his 15 innings against the Red Sox, who rank second in the majors in home runs with 166.

The Blue Jays didn’t homer while losing the final two games of their series at Oakland this week, but they lead the majors with 183.

“I don’t think anyone would have predicted that,” outfielder Vernon Wells(notes) said. “We knew we’d hit some but it’s been an eye-opening experience. It’s been fun to be a part of.”

The only homer Lester has allowed in 13 innings against Toronto was hit by utilityman John McDonald(notes), who has two home runs all season.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Cecil Tor vs. J. Lester ChC
15-7 Record 19-9
4.22 ERA 3.25
117 K 225
54 BB 83
1.33 WHIP 1.20

Scoreboard

Friday, Aug 20