Triumphant Lester: 'One squared-up ball'

CHICAGO -- This was probably the most positive outcome the Red Sox could have wished for on a day they placed Josh Beckett on the 15-day disabled list, which means he’ll miss at least two starts.

Jon Lester pitched like his old dominating self, taking a shutout into the seventh inning, when he gave up a three-run home run to Luis Valbuena, then turning the game over to the bullpen to finish off a 4-3 win over the Cubs.

Lester struck out eight, including three in the fifth, and walked just one, which came just before Valbuena’s home run and during an at-bat in which Lester went ahead of Wellington Castillo 0-and-2, did not get the call on a 1-and-2 pitch, then watched Castillo foul off four pitches in a row before walking him.

“I feel fine,’’ Lester said afterward. “I threw 102 pitches and one was a mistake. It’s still frustrating. There were a couple hard hit balls to start the game, Pedey (Dustin Pedroia) made a great play on a line drive to save me in the first.

“But after that, there were a couple flares to right, three infield hits. I’ve got to take that positive from the bad contact. One squared-up ball gives them three runs.’’