video thumbnail

TB@BOS: Lester gives up two, fans eight over 6 1/3

In his eight seasons with the Red Sox, Jon Lester can't help but enjoy facing the Orioles.

That's because the left-hander is 14-2 in 22 career starts against Baltimore with a 2.86 ERA, his second-lowest against any American League opponent.

However, that hasn't been the case lately. The Red Sox have lost the last five games Lester has pitched against the O's, dating back to Sept. 28, 2011. Lester has also lost his last two decisions to Baltimore.

However, he'll look to get back in the win column against the Orioles as the Red Sox go for the series victory on Sunday at Camden Yards.

With a commanding fastball in his last start against the Rays, the left-hander allowed two runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings for his ninth win of the season. He also tied a season high with eight strikeouts.

"For any pitcher, if you're staying out of the middle of the plate, even in a fastball count, and you're locating well, usually you're going to keep the ball off the fat part of the bat," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He did that the other night."

Lester will oppose Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel, who is trying to find his form this season.

In eight home outings this year, Hammel is 1-4 with a 6.65 ERA.

In his last start against the Royals, Hammel allowed three runs on 10 hits over six innings in a loss. Winless in his last nine starts, the right-hander's last victory came May 27.

"[Fastball command is] still a challenge for him, but he's a guy who works real hard in his work day," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He can really impress you on his work day, he just hasn't been as consistent in the game as he's capable of. I think once he gets a couple good games under his belt, he might get back to the level he's spoiled us at."

Red Sox: Carp starts, Nava sits
• With Daniel Nava in a 2-for-12 slump since the All-Star break, Mike Carp got the start in left field Saturday night.

Along with Nava and Carp vying for playing time in left, Jonny Gomes can also start there.

"It's a delicate balance," Farrell said. "That's why having guys who have been in that role prior is extremely valuable. Both Jonny and Mike have been in that somewhat and yet, tonight with Mike being in there, it's a matter of not letting him get too far away from his most recent activity and maybe Daniel's swing at times can get a little bit long, and that's not to be critical. That's just monitoring the situation as it stands."

Carp is hitting .329 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs, while Nava was one of Boston's best hitters the first half of the season.

Orioles: Solid defense could make history
Baltimore has made 32 errors in 105 games, which puts the club on pace for 50 in 162 games.

The record for fewest errors in a 162-game season is 65 by the 2003 Mariners.

The O's lead the Majors with a .992 fielding percentage, which, if maintained the rest of the season, would be the best fielding percentage in baseball history. It would top the 2007 Rockies' .989 mark.

Worth noting
• In Saturday's 7-3 loss, Baltimore snapped a streak of 11 straight games with a home run against Boston, which dated back to Sept. 28, 2012.

• The Red Sox are 43-9 (.827) this season when scoring first, the highest such winning percentage in the Majors. Comments