Lester helps Red Sox slip past Cubs
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Recent times haven't been friendly for the Red Sox, but Jon Lester snapped his four-start winless streak and a two-run homer from Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who batted fourth for the first time in his career, helped Boston edge the Chicago Cubs, 4-3, in the middle installment of a three-game interleague series at Wrigley Field.
"Sometimes crazy times ask for crazy measures," said Valentine of his reasoning hitting Saltalamacchia in the cleanup spot. "I saw his average go from .280 to .250-something and the team (was) losing and he's dragging his head a little. I thought that was a way to make him understand that I believe in him."
Lester (4-4) held the Cubs scoreless through the opening six frames on five hits before the home team touched him up for three runs in the seventh. In all, the southpaw fanned eight while scattering seven hits and walking one in 6 2/3 innings.
Sitting a season-high three games over .500 (28-25) on June 2, the Red Sox mustered just their fourth win in 12 tries since.
Luis Valbuena smacked a three-run shot while Jeff Samardzija (5-5) struck out six and surrendered three runs on four hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings for the Cubs, who have dropped three of their last four.
"I really took my time out there, went pitch to pitch and I felt great," said Samardzija of his outing.
The Cubs trailed 4-0 before getting back in the game with their three-run seventh.
Jeff Baker led off and flared a double to right. After Tony Campana grounded out, Welington Castillo walked and Valbuena stroked a three-run shot over the wall in left to trim the margin to 4-3.
Alfonso Soriano was booed vehemently for not running out a play on the final out of the inning. Soriano ripped a liner to third base, which Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks dropped, but he still had plenty of time to get Soriano at first.
Vicente Padilla struck out two in a 1-2-3 eighth and Alfredo Aceves worked around a leadoff single in the ninth to register his 16th save of the year.
The Red Sox tallied a pair to open the scoring in the fourth and added one in both the sixth and seventh innings.
David Ortiz began the fourth with a double and Saltalamacchia cracked a two- run shot into the bleachers in right-center for a 2-0 Boston advantage.
Ortiz and Saltalamacchia worked a pair of one-out walks in the sixth before Will Middlebrooks slapped an RBI single to center for a 3-0 lead.
Mike Aviles lined a double to right to begin the seventh and scored two batters later when Scott Podsednik ripped a single to center.
Boston was 3-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base while Chicago went 1-for-4 with RISP and stranded four...Red Sox relievers have tossed 9 1/3 scoreless innings over their last five contests.