LOS ANGELES -- This getting mad, then getting even business is starting to wear on the Red Sox.
Last Sunday night in Boston, it was the Yankees rising up in anger after Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch. Friday night at Dodger Stadium, it was Carl Crawford, breaking bad against the Red Sox, the city of Boston, the commonwealth of Massachusetts and the six-state New England region -- all of which had apparently earned his everlasting contempt -- with two hits and two stolen bases.
And Saturday afternoon, it threatened to be more of the same, with Crawford pinch hitting and drawing a walk off starter Jon Lester to set up a two-run double off reliever Craig Breslow by Adrian Gonzalez, who doesn't appear to harbor as deep a grudge as CC but clearly prefers life far from Yawkey Way.
Fortunately for the Sox, closer Koji Uehara put an end to the blood-letting in the name of revenge. Uehara entered with two on and two out in the eighth, struck out A.J. Ellis to end the eighth, then set down the Dodgers in order for his 13th save of the season.
"Given the momentum they had created, fourth pitcher of the inning, we needed a big out there, and he got it for us," Sox manager John Farrell said. "A good day for him, a good day for us, a much-needed win."
Uehera's work preserved the win for Lester, who allowed just three hits and four walks over 7 1/3 innings, and made the Dodgers' four-run first off Hyun-Jin Ryu stand up. Mike Napoli, making his first start in eight days, singled in a run with the first of his three hits, and Jonny Gomes followed with a three-run home run, his 11th of the season.
Gomes had never faced Ryu before Saturday, though he had watched some tape.
"I didn't know how he was going to approach me, so I decided to go with the flow of what the game was calling for," Gomes said. "He threw four first-pitch fastballs. I knew he had good off-speed and secondary pitches. The majority of pitches he'd thrown were fastballs, so I was looking fastball."
Lester, who has now won four of his past five decisions, took a three-hit shutout into the eighth, but issued a one-out walk to Crawford with one out in the eighth. Junichi Tazawa entered and gave up a single to Yasiel Puig, which brought the crowd of 48,165 into it. Tazawa struck out Mark Ellis for the second out, then Farrell went to lefty Craig Breslow to face Gonzalez, who crossed up the strategy by lining a double into left-center, scoring two. Tazawa missed badly on a full-count fastball to Hanley Ramirez, and Farrell went to Uehara.
Moments later, Uehara was walking off the mound, slapping his glove three times, then disappearing into the usual forest of high-fives in the dugout. His 13th save matches the career-high number he posted in 2010 with Baltimore, and it was his first multi-inning save since Aug. 31, 2010.
He didn't even wait for the translation when asked if he could pitch Sunday.
"No thank you," he said with a laugh.
The Dodgers are advised not to take him at his word.
Lester was helped by three unusual double plays. Puig was doubled off first when Gonzalez lined out to Napoli in the first. Puig was doubled off again in the sixth when he tore off for second on Mark Ellis's liner to right, Shane Victorino lobbing the ball into Napoli. And Stephen Drew bailed Lester out of a two-on jam in the seventh when he caught Juan Uribe's liner and beat Hanley Ramirez to the bag in second.
Jacoby Ellsbury, hitless in nine at-bats in L.A., experienced an embarrassing moment in the ninth when he forced Xander Bogaerts at second, then strayed off first base toward the dugout, helmet in hand, believing there were three out. There were two, until he was called out for abandonment of the bag.