Lester, Papelbon combine to one-hit Royals

BOSTON (AP) -- Jon Lester gave Boston's battered rotation another


Elias Says ...

Jon Lester
Jon Lester became only the second Red Sox pitcher in the past 40 years to start his major league career with five straight wins. The other was Aaron Sele (6-0 in 1993).

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He also showed that Jonathan Papelbon isn't the only outstanding

rookie pitcher on the Red Sox.

Lester (5-0) allowed one hit in eight innings and Papelbon

pitched a perfect ninth, leading the Red Sox over the Kansas City

Royals 1-0 Tuesday night.

Lester said he was surprised by his success in his first eight

major league starts but "I knew I could perform at this level."

The emergence of Lester, who started the season at Triple-A

Pawtucket, has come at an important time for Boston. David Wells

and Matt Clement are on the disabled list and Tim Wakefield left

Monday night's 5-4 win over Kansas City after four innings with an

upper back strain.

"He's jumped right in and been a huge member of our staff,"

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He's young, but that was a

good example of what he can do."

Lester gave up just a clean single to center field in the second

to Mark Teahen, the only Royal to reach second base. The

left-hander, who made his major league debut June 10, struck out

four, walked four, allowed only five balls to leave the infield and

dropped his ERA to 2.38.

He also is the first rookie left-hander in Red Sox history to

win his first five decisions, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"I hadn't ever seen him before and I was pretty impressed,"

Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "They have some pretty

good-looking young pitchers, that's for sure."

Papelbon, who came up in the Red Sox system with Lester, retired

the Royals in the ninth on a strikeout and two grounders for his

major league-leading 28th save in 31 opportunities.

"These are the moments you cherish in baseball," Papelbon

said, "especially with us coming up through the ranks together."

Boston scored in the fifth on a double by Jason Varitek and an

RBI single by Alex Gonzalez.

Brandon Duckworth (1-3) allowed only that run and five hits in

six innings, but the Royals still suffered their seventh loss in

eight games.

"We played well enough to win, but you've got to give credit to

Lester," Duckworth said. "Whenever he got a guy on, it seemed

like he was able to get a groundball and get a double play."

One run was enough against baseball's worst team.

Francona said he didn't know if Lester would have gotten the

same results against a better team.

"You play who you play. That's what matters," he said.

Lester pitched very efficiently, throwing 100 pitches, including

57 strikes. In his previous seven starts, he averaged 103 pitches

and 5 1-3 innings.

"Any time you can go deep into the game, it gives you a big

confidence booster," Lester said.

The shutout was Boston's second in four games after going

without one for the first 88 games of the season.

After Teahen grounded a single through the middle with one out,

he stole second but was stranded.

Lester walked Esteban German with one out in the first then

struck out the next two batters. Mark Grudzielanek led off the

fourth with a walk and was caught stealing. Tony Graffanino walked

with two outs in that inning but was forced out at second.

Graffanino walked again in the seventh but was out on an

inning-ending double play.

"He's got some good stuff," Kansas City's Joey Gathright said

of Lester, "but we should have done a lot better than that."

After Gonzalez singled home Varitek in the fifth, the Red Sox

threatened in the sixth when Manny Ramirez doubled with two outs

into the left-field corner on a high fly that the strong wind took

away from David DeJesus, who overran the ball. Trot Nixon was

walked intentionally before Mike Lowell flew out.

Game notes
Varitek broke Carlton Fisk's team record when he caught his

991st game for the Red Sox. ... Kansas City's streak of 36 straight

games with at least one double, matching a club record, ended. ...

The Royals have lost 10 of their last 11 games at Fenway Park and

are 8-19 against lefty starters. ... Boston is 30-13 at Fenway, its

best record through 43 games there since 1979. ... Boston's last

combined one-hitter was by David Wells, Mike Timlin and Keith

Foulke in a 7-0 win over Cincinnati on June 14 last year.