The Boston Red Sox are looking to be back in business after a flurry of wins wrapped around the All-Star break.
After the team fell to a season low 12 games under .500 at 39-51 on July 8, the Sox walked off twice in a row over the White Sox, took two out of three from the Houston Astros, and have now swept the Royals after the break.
Boston has now won five games in a row at Fenway Park to return to 26-26 at home.
Jon Lester Dominant Again And Unreal In July
Coming into the game, Lester was 5-0 with a 1.02 ERA against Kansas City at Fenway Park in his career. Of course, you can't forget his no-hitter against them in May 2008.
Nothing changed on Sunday as he was looking to take out the brooms for the sweep.
Lester scattered four hits over his 8 innings of work, while hitting one batter and giving up two walks. Only one baserunner even reached third base in another scoreless outing for Lester.
Lester's line: 8 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts, 115 pitches
In three July starts this year, Lester has given up 1 earned run in 23 innings. That is a 0.39 ERA in July.
Red Sox Light Up Flamethrower Ventura
The starting pitcher for the Royals today was 23-year old Yordano Ventura. He came into the game with a 7-7 record and 3.22 ERA, but you never would have known it with his performance today.
He was hyped up before the game because he averages the fastest fastball in the American League. His average heater is 96.8 MPH. He consistently hit 99 and 100 today.
Ventura looked decent in the first two innings, only giving up one run on two hits. The run came on a Dustin Pedroia fielder's choice after Brock Holt and Daniel Nava singles.
It all came crashing down in the third and fourth for Ventura. In the third, David Ross led off the inning with a walk and Jackie Bradley Jr. pushed him up to second with a single to center. Holt grounded out, moving them to 2nd and 3rd for Nava.
Nava roped a ground rule double to right field to send Ross and JBJ home to make it 3-0 Boston.
Ventura had more issues in the fourth, when Shane Victorino hit a double to lead off the inning. After a Drew fly out, Ross made a difference again and blasted his sixth homer of the year into the Green Monster to give Boston a 5-0 lead.
But the BoSox weren't done yet! JBJ hit his second single and Holt hit his second single to bring up Nava again. He hit a sacrifice fly plenty deep enough to score Bradley Jr. for his third RBI and a 6-0 lead.
Ventura's line: 4.1 innings, 9 hits, 6 runs, 4 walks, 0 strikeouts
Boston had plenty more chances to score in the rest of the game, but with Lester on the mound, would not need any more runs after the fourth.
An Interesting Home Streak
Before today's victory, the last 8 home wins for Boston were each by 1 run, dating back to June 16 against the Minnesota Twins.
That streak would end Sunday with the 6-0 win. Boston is 26-26 at home and 20-26 on the road. The team will need to improve their road record if they want to continue their success, as the next seven games are division games on the road.
Victorino Adjusting Back To Majors
With the start today in right field, Victorino has now played four straight contests between Pawtucket and Boston. It was originally stated that he would get today off, but he ended up starting, so that should be a good sign for Sox fans that he is indeed healthy.
He is 3-for-7 in his first two games back with a run.
NotesHolt continues his offensive tear. He is 14-for-28 in his last six games. Is there anything this guy can't do? Nava also continues his offensive tear. Since June 17, he has increased his batting average from .198 to .246. Lester's ERA has dropped to 2.50 with his 10th win today. Drew made a spectacular play in the eighth. On a ball up the middle, he stopped the ball on a lunging dive and flipped to Pedroia who threw on to first for the 6-4-3 double play. Boston won the game easily with Pedroia and Ortiz hitting a combined 0-for-9. The Sox will head to Toronto to take on the Blue Jays from Monday-Thursday for a four-game series. Boston currently stands 4.5 games behind Toronto in the AL East for second in the division. Big series? I would say so!
John Lackey will take the ball Monday against Drew Hutchison at 7pm.