1:35 PM ET, June 1, 2014
Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
Lester pitched seven shutout innings and Brock Holt drove in two runs with one of his major league record-tying four doubles to lift the Red Sox to their seventh straight win, completing a three-game sweep over the reeling Tampa Bay Rays with a 4-0 victory on Sunday.
Boston's streak follows a 10-game skid, its longest in 20 years. The Red Sox said that matches a major league record for consecutive wins after a double-digit losing stretch, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau.
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The only question Jon Lester couldn't answer Sunday with his dominant, 12-strikeout win had to do with his contract negotiations with the Red Sox. Story
Rookies Garin Cecchini and Adam Hassen collected their first major league hits to go along with fellow rookie Holt's big day.
"It's great. It kind of makes you reminisce of all the good firsts and just how excited they'll be," Lester said. "That's the cool part about this game, to see these guys come up and doing this stuff to help out the team."
Holt tied a major league record for doubles in a single game one day after he hit his first major league homer in Saturday night's win. Cecchini added an RBI double for his first major league hit.
"We're tapping into organization depth and guys are ready to contribute," Boston manager John Farrell said. "It is a special day. I don't know the last time two Red Sox players have gotten their first major league hits in a game."
Evan Longoria had a pair of singles for the Rays, who dropped their season-high sixth straight. Tampa Bay owns the AL's worst record at 23-34.
"It's a fun day," Holt said. "Anytime you can go out and do something like that, I had a little bit of luck on my side, too."
Lester (6-6) allowed four hits, while striking out 12 and walking one. It was the left-hander's 19th career double-digit strikeout game, coming after he struck out a career-best 15 against the Oakland Athletics on May 3.
The Rays looked punchless for the third straight game.
"It's been kind of ongoing for a little while now," Tampa Bay second baseman Logan Forsythe said.
"A team doesn't stay stagnant for that long. We're going to get hot, we're going to get going soon. It's just a matter of time. We're putting the work in. Now we just wait and see when it happens, and when it happens, just roll with it."
Tampa Bay was held to three runs in the series and has scored two or fewer runs in nine of its past 14 games, losing eight of those.
"I really believe that run's there," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It's really pretty much rooted in one component of our game -- we're just not a consistent offensive team right now."
For the second straight day, the clubs were cordial to each other on the field after three Boston managers and a pitcher were ejected in Friday's game.
Rays starter David Price hit David Ortiz in the first inning and Mike Carp later in the fourth. The Carp one triggered the benches to clear, the second time in less than a week the two teams had a scrum.
Last Sunday in Tropicana Field, players in Boston's dugout started yelling at Yunel Escobar when he stole third with the Rays up by five runs late.
The Red Sox broke ahead 3-0 in the fourth against Erik Bedard (2-4). Hassan singled to center for his first hit after Jonny Gomes singled leading off. Jackie Bradley Jr. then walked before Jonathan Herrera had a sacrifice fly, making it 1-0. Holt followed with his two-run double.
Bedard lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and five hits, walking four and striking out four.
Victor Martinez was the most recent player to get four doubles in a game, coming on June 1, 2010, while with the Red Sox. ... The last pair of Red Sox rookies to get their first major league hits in a game were Steve Dillard and Andy Merchant on Sept. 28, 1975. ... Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia was back in the lineup after missing Saturday with a sore right hand, but his day was cut short when he was ejected at the end of the third by home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn. ... Tampa Bay placed OF Wil Myers on the 15-day DL before the game and recalled 1B/OF Jerry Sands from Triple-A Durham. Sands went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. ... Rays SS Escobar was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game with a tight left quad, but he pinch hit in the seventh and flied to center. ... It was Lester's 233rd career start, moving him into fifth on the club's all-time list. ... Before the game, the Red Sox called up 3B Cecchini from Triple-A Pawtucket and optioned RHP Alex Wilson.
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 01: Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at...(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Regular Season Series
|Tampa Bay leads 9-7 (as of Sun 6/1)|
|Tue 4/29||@BOS 7, TB 4||Recap|
|Thu 5/1||TB 2, @BOS 1||Recap|
|Thu 5/1||TB 6, @BOS 5||Recap|
|Fri 5/23||@TB 1, BOS 0||Recap|
|Sat 5/24||@TB 6, BOS 5||Recap|
|Sun 5/25||@TB 8, BOS 5||Recap|
|Fri 5/30||@BOS 3, TB 2||Recap|
|Sat 5/31||@BOS 7, TB 1||Recap|
|» Sun 6/1||@BOS 4, TB 0||Box Score|
|Fri 7/25||@TB 6, BOS 4||Recap|
|Sat 7/26||@TB 3, BOS 0||Recap|
|Sun 7/27||BOS 3, @TB 2||Recap|
|Fri 8/29||BOS 8, @TB 4||Recap|
|Sat 8/30||@TB 7, BOS 0||Recap|
|Sun 8/31||BOS 3, @TB 0||Recap|
|Mon 9/1||@TB 4, BOS 3||Recap|
|Sep 23, 2014||TB (Odorizzi) @ BOS (Ranaudo)||7:10 PM ET|
|Sep 24, 2014||TB (Cobb) @ BOS (Buchholz)||7:10 PM ET|
|Sep 25, 2014||TB (Hellickson) @ BOS (Workman)||7:10 PM ET|
|Complete Schedule: Rays | Red Sox|
|4th||J Herrera hit sacrifice fly to left, J Gomes scored.||0||1|
|4th||B Holt doubled to deep left, A Hassan and J Bradley Jr. scored.||0||3|
|7th||G Cecchini doubled to deep left, B Holt scored.||0||4|
|View complete Play-By-Play|
|Stadium||Fenway Park, Boston, MA|
|Attendance||37,688 (101.7% full) - % is based on regular season capacity|
|Weather||73 degrees, partly cloudy|
|Umpires||Home Plate - D.J. Reyburn, First Base - Tom Woodring, Second Base - Dan Bellino, Third Base - Ted Barrett|
Brock Holt is the second player to go 4-4 or better with four doubles from the leadoff slot in baseball's modern era.[+]
4-4 or Better with 4 Doubles - Leadoff Man in Modern Era (Since 1900)
Jon Lester is getting batters to chase his slider out of the strike zone 40.5 percent of the time, which is 11 percentage points more than the league average. However, none of the Rays' qualified hitters chase sliders out of the zone more than the league average rate of 32.7 percent.
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