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Lester pitches complete game in Red Sox victory

The SportsXchange

BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester recorded a complete-game victory, losing his shutout in the ninth inning as Boston beat the Seattle Mariners 6-1 on Monday.

Lester did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the fourth inning, when Ichiro Suzuki broke up Lester's bid for his second career no-hitter with a comebacker that bounced off Lester's glove for a single.

"I think that's everybody's goal when they go out there, to throw a no-hitter, perfect game," Lester said. "Just ended up giving up a base hit a little later than normal. I just was able to keep the ball down. It's obviously in the back of your mind, but I don't think it really becomes significant until the sixth, seventh inning. That's when you're cutting those outs down and you might have a chance."

Lester ended up allowing one run on eight hits with no walks and six strikeouts. He improved his record to 2-3 with a 3.60 ERA.

"He went out and he looked like he had a mission to accomplish and he accomplished it," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "He was throwing all of his pitches early in the game, throwing them all for strikes, had a very confident look about himself and just for you younger reporters out there, that's called a complete game -- when a starter starts and then he finishes it."

Complete games have become quite rare in this era of pitch counts.

"His cutter was really good," said the Mariners Dustin Ackley. "That thing looked like his fastball and it just breaks off at the last minute. When you have a pitch like that, you're going to miss barrels a lot."

Sox batters got to Mariners lefty Jason Vargas early, scoring two runs in the first inning. Dustin Pedroia walked with one out, and he scored on David Ortiz's double. Ortiz then scored on Adrian Gonzalez's double.

In the fourth inning, Daniel Nava's first-pitch, two-run homer over the left field wall scored Cody Ross, who had singled. It was the first home run of the season for Nava, who was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday. It was also the first home run in 171 major league at-bats. Nava hit a grand slam on the first pitch he saw in the major leagues, on June 12, 2010. He then shuttled between Boston and Pawtucket in 2010, and spent all of 2011 and the start of 2012 in Pawtucket.

"I didn't think it was gone," Nava said. "Knowing how big the wall is and seeing some other balls guys have hit, I didn't think it compared to [Will Middlebrooks'] bomb or [Kelly] Shoppach. I was surprised. It barely squeaked over. But I'll take it."

Shoppach's first home run of the season, a solo shot over the left field wall, gave the Sox a five-run lead.

Jason Vargas took the loss, falling to 4-3, with a 3.28 ERA. He went six innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and three walks with three strikeouts.

"It looked like he left a changeup up and another pitch out over they put a pretty good swing on," said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. "He didn't quite have the command you see [from] him, but still pitched a pretty good ballgame. It's just the hits they got were damage-oriented, whether it be a ball getting up on the wall or over the wall."

The Sox added another run in the eighth against Mariners reliever Sean Kelly when Marlon Byrd hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to score Middlebrooks.

The Mariners scored their lone run when Kyle Seager's groundout scored Suzuki, who singled and took third on Justin Smoak's double.

NOTES: With a home run and two RBI Sunday against the Indians, Red Sox third baseman Middlebrooks became the third player to accumulate at least four home runs and 13 RBI over his first 10 games in the majors...Dustin Ackley got a partial day off, serving as the designated hitter, with Kyle Seager playing second base...Mariners right-hander Blake Beavan is scheduled to start Tuesday, his first appearance since leaving his last game after three innings on May 7 against the Tigers after being hit on the right elbow by a shot off the bat of Miguel Cabrera that turned into an inning-ending double play. Beavan is 1-3 with a 4.32 ERA...Kevin Millwood induced three double-play grounders for the Mariners in their win over the Yankees on Sunday. It was the most double plays for Millwood since June 27, 2006, a span of 154 starts...Pedroia's 14-game hitting streak was snapped as he went 0-for-3 with a walk. It had been the longest active streak in the majors....The Sox have a four-game win streak in which they are outscoring opponents 29-8...The Mariners are 2-9 against the American League East this season... Suzuki's two hits give him 2,471, tying him with Joe Medwick for 98th on the all-time hit list...Ackley has a 10-game hit streak in which he is batting .297, 11-for-37.
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