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Lester approaches perfection as Red Sox beat Blue Jays

The SportsXchange

BOSTON - Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester was perfect through 5 2/3 innings until Toronto's No. 9 batter, Maicer Izturis, hit a first-pitch double.

Though Lester lost his bid for a no-hitter, he earned the win as the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays, 5-0, on Friday night.

Lester pitched a complete game and improved to 5-0. Izturis was the only baserunner Lester allowed.

"The no-hitter, perfect game, all that stuff, the stars got to be perfectly aligned for you," Lester said. "It's one of those deals, you can't pitch to that. You got to pitch your game, keep attacking. The ball that Izturis hit was a first-pitch changeup down and way. Good pitch, what we wanted to throw especially to an aggressive hitter. He did a good job of hitting it."

"It's more the location to the stuff and the feel that he had for his changeup in the early part of the game," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "It wasn't a matter of the just pure stuff. It was more the location and his ability to change speeds."

"He's pitched against us pretty well," said Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia. "I've played against him for three years and he'll have his good games. But I think that's definitely probably the sharpest that I've seen him today attacking us."

Right-hander Ramon Ortiz, making his second appearance and first start of the season for the Blue Jays, went five innings, giving up one run on four hits and five walks (one intentional) with one strikeout. Ortiz took the loss, falling to 0-1.

"He did a tremendous job. He kept us right there," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "The game got out of hand on guys in the seventh. he did everything and more than we wanted to and expected. Good for him."

"He just battled the whole time," Arencibia said. "I think he made a lot of good pitches. We had probably more opportunities to get out of innings than it even showed. Even for just keeping them at one, there was a lot of times we could have been out of the inning that we didn't get that last out or something. But he did a great job."

Boston scored in the second when Daniel Nava reached on a one-out walk, taking third on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's single, and scoring when shortstop Maicer Izturis committed an error on Will Middlebrooks' groundball.

The Red Sox scored four runs in the seventh inning, when they sent eight batters to the plate. Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, and Dustin Pedroia opened the inning with consecutive singles off Brett Cecil, with Ellsbury scoring. After striking out Ortiz, Cecil's outing was done, with Mickey Storey replacing him. Storey struck out Mike Napoli before consecutive doubles by Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia scored three runs, giving Boston a 5-0 lead.

NOTES: Right-hander Brandon Morrow was originally scheduled to start Friday in Boston, then was pushed back till Sunday because of spasms in his upper back and neck. Morrow is in Florida being evaluated and the Blue Jays won't know more about his status until closer to Sunday ... Some candidates in the Blue Jays organization to help in their major league rotation include Chad Jenkins and Sean Nolin, at Double-A New Hampshire, who both recently returned from injuries, and Marcus Stroman, their first-round pick in 2012, who was suspended in the final month last season after testing positive for an over-the-counter banned substance. He is eligible to be reinstated May 19 ... Right-hander Michael Schwimer was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list on Friday and was assigned to Triple-A Buffalo after missing the start of the season because of a shoulder injury ... Andrew Bailey, on the disabled list since April 29 with a right biceps strain, threw Friday afternoon, the second consecutive day he has thrown since going on the DL, getting out to 105 feet ... Right-hander John Lackey will make his next start on Tuesday, the opening game of the three-game series at Tampa Bay ... Left-hander Felix Doubront, who struggled in his last two outings, is scheduled to make his next start on Thursday at Tampa Bay...Right-hander Clay Buchholz and Jack Morris, the former pitcher and now Blue Jays broadcaster, were talking on the field during batting practice. Morris made pointed remarks last week when the Sox were in Toronto directed at Buchholz, and Junichi Tazawa, alleging the pitchers doctor their pitches. It appeared Buchholz and Morris smoothed things over.
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