Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 10/21/14
B2
BOSTON — Health has been Jon Lester’s one constant amid his struggles. So when Lester walked off the mound in the middle of an at-bat in the eighth inning on Thursday, the Red Sox’ worst fear flashed before their eyes. Fortunately for the Red Sox, they can breathe easy. Not only is Lester OK, but he also turned in his best performance in over a month as the Red Sox earned a 7-4 win over the Blue Jays. Lester jammed his hip while delivering a pitch to Emilio Bonifacio in the eighth inning, and John Farrell wasted no time in taking out his starter. Lester said that he felt a “zinging sensation” after throwing the pitch, but he insisted that he felt normal shortly after exiting the game. “I’m not too worried it,” Lester said. “The docs didn’t seem worried about it and I’ll come in tomorrow and figure it out, but the way I’m figuring is I’ll pitch on my normal turn, maintain it and see how we go.” Eighth-inning scare aside, Lester’s start against the Blue Jays was very encouraging, even if the final line score doesn’t come off as all that glamorous. Lester was charged with four earned runs on five hits over seven innings — with two runs scoring in the eighth inning after he was relieved by Junichi Tazawa — but he remained in control throughout the outing. “Fastball command was pretty good tonight. I had a pretty good changeup. We were able to mix the ball in and out,” Lester said. “Obviously having a seven-run lead in the second inning helps. The offense did a good job of getting their guy out of there early and getting to that bullpen, especially with the four-game series so that was big.” Lester’s night was certainly made easier by the Red Sox’ seven-run offensive outburst in the second inning, but the lefty showed a lot of improvement. In addition to his enhanced fastball command and good feel for his changeup, Lester was able to finish off innings — something that’s been a problem of late. Lester didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning — an inning in which he surrendered two runs on three hits — but he walked a couple of hitters early on. He stuck with it in each instance, and he managed to escape any damage until the fifth. Edwin Encarnacion grounded into an inning-ending double play in both the first inning and the fourth inning. Even when Lester did stumble briefly in the fifth inning, he still responded well. Following Maicer Izturis’ two-run double in the fifth, Lester retired seven straight to regain control of the game and work into the eighth inning. Thursday’s start was Lester’s longest since May 25, when he also went seven innings. And although Lester didn’t end up recording an out in the eighth inning, it was the first time that the left-hander worked into the eighth since May 10, when he pitched a complete-game shutout against the Jays. “I feel that responsibility to go out there and save the bullpen and that’s what I tried to do tonight,” Lester said. “Obviously, I would have liked to have given Taz a little better situation than what he came into but I kept us in the game.” Lester can now hang his hat on back-to-back wins. They haven’t been perfect — or without a brief scare — but strides are being made. Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Giants dethrone Royals in Game 1 of World Series

Wife of Royals pitcher leaves World Series ticket as tip

Report: Chandler Jones to miss a month with hip injury

Lance Briggs left Bears' locker room to avoid the fighting

Could the Seahawks have gotten more for Percy Harvin?

Five storylines to watch in the 2014 World Series

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Favre delays Lambeau return due to Bart Starr’s health

Cowboys release Michael Sam from practice squad

Fan in critical condition after being beaten before Bears game

Ben Roethlisberger rips the media

Tim Tebow: Gators don't have offensive leadership, lack heart

Colts punter asks Antonio Brown not to kick him in face

Royals fans sleeping during Game 1 loss at World Series

Matt Flynn had a blast at Pearl Jam concert

Report: Back injury could end Nathan Horton's career

Report: Ray Rice files grievance against Ravens

UEFA Champions League midway report: Groups E – H

PHOTO: Fans place Manning’s 509 football in Hall of Fame

Jets sign Jeremy Kerley to $16M 4-year extension

10 teams that should try to trade for Yoenis Cespedes

Lego stadiums: turning a childhood hobby into a business

Bayless: Kobe's sexual assault trial gave him 'edge' and 'sizzle'

Blackhawks make leukemia patient's dream come true

College football's post-Week 8 Playoff projection

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Royals fans sleeping during Game 1

Rice files grievance against Ravens

UEFA Champions League midway report

Cowboys release Michael Sam

Bayless: Kobe's sexual assault trial gave him 'edge'

10 teams that should try to trade for Yoenis Cespedes

Five storylines to watch in the 2014 World Series

Ben Roethlisberger rips media

NFL Power Rankings Week 7

Pistorius sentenced to five years

Lane Kiffin trashed in political ad

Details of War Machine's suicide letter leaked

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.