Originally posted on Sox and Dawgs  |  Last updated 6/17/12

With Josh Beckett out for at least the next 15 days, the Boston Red Sox are going to need Jon Lester to pitch like we all know he's capable of doing. Well, he got things started with a good outing on Saturday night in the Windy City.

Lester allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out eight in 6.2 innings and get some solid help from the bullpen as the visiting nine beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3.

Lester has been up and down this season and hasn't yet gone on one of those runs where he completely dominates out there. But if you look at his stuff as of late, you know one is coming.

The one mistake he made in the game cost him. And whether or not the mistake came as a result of losing focus because he was upset with the home plate umpire's call in regards to the strike zone remains to be seen. But that is one thing that has kept him from crossing the hump and being consistent all season long.

Hanging on to a 4-0 lead in the 7th, he allowed a leadoff double to Jeff Baker. After retiring pinch-hitter Tony Campana, he walked Welington Castillo in which he thought he had gotten squeezed a little. His skipper, Bobby Valentine, sensed that and came out to calm his pitcher down. Unfortunately it didn't work as Lester left a fastball out over the plate for Luis Valbuena who connected on it for a three-run blast.

He did recover to strikeout David DeJesus before giving way to Scott Atchison who finished off the inning. Vicente Padilla needed just 12 pitches to get through the 8th and despite allowing a hit in the 9th, Alfredo Aceves picked up his 16th save of the season.

It was Lester's batterymate who helped him out on the offensive end of things in this game.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs to along with a walk. It was his home run in the 4th inning off Jeff Samardzija that got things going. David Ortiz had a good night at the plate going 1-for-2 (double) with two walks. He did make a baserunning gaffe in the 1st inning after Salty doubled as he was thrown out at the plate after reaching on a walk.

Will Middlebrooks knocked in a run with a single in the 6th inning and Scott Podsednik's nice run at the top of the Red Sox order continued with two more hits, including what turned out to be the game-winning RBI single in the 7th.

The Red Sox now sit at 32-33, one game below .500 and are 7.5 games out of first place behind their hated rivals the New York Yankees. A win tonight in the Windy City over the Theo Epstein's could go a long way right now before heading back to Fenway to finish off the final six games of interleague play starting on Tuesday night against the Miami Marlins.

It'll be up to Franklin Morales, making the spot start for the injured Josh Beckett, to get that proverbial ball rolling.

We'll be back later with today's lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. So for now, let's take at look at the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you're on the home page.

To open the links up in a new tab or window, use Control+click

Catcher cleans up nice [Boston Globe]

Morales glad to pitch in [Boston Globe]

We were picking up bad vibrations [Boston Globe]

Pitching change has trickle-down effect [Boston Globe]

Road Salt cleans up [Boston Herald]

Beckett gets thumbs down [Boston Herald]

Bobby V: Clay passes [Boston Herald]

Not here without Dad [Boston Herald]

Lester, Sox fend off Cubs, 4-3 [CSN New England]

Adjustments finally pay off for Lester [CSN New England]

Saltalamacchia rewards Valentine's confidence [CSN New England]

Ranaudo shows promise, shortcomings [ESPN Boston]

Bobby V: Crawford 'close' to playing game [ESPN Boston]

Middlebrooks: Soriano unfairly maligned [ESPN Boston]

Saltalamacchia gives Valentine some relief [ESPN Boston]

Pedroia's slump? Of course, it's the thumb [ESPN Boston]

Triumphant Lester: 'One squared-up ball' [ESPN Boston]

Fatherhood and Fenway [ESPN Boston]

Why Franklin Morales and not Clay Buchholz is starting on Sunday [Full Count]

Closing Time: Battery-powered win for Red Sox over Cubs [Full Count]

Jon Lester Stabilizes Rotation Amid News of Josh Beckett's Injury, Eases Burden for Bullpen [NESN.com]

Jarrod Saltalamacchia Rewards Bobby Valentine's Trust For Placing Him in Cleanup Spot [NESN.com]

Bobby Valentine Knows Crazy, But Is His Craziness Fox-Like? [NESN.com]

Father's Day Not Unlike Mother's Day in Some Ways, as It Ensures Quality Family Time [NESN.com]

Morales going back to roots with spot start [RedSox.com]

Crawford could be 'close' to game action [RedSox.com]

Salem's Bogaerts heating up in June [RedSox.com]

Red Sox still dangerous once healthy [RedSox.com]

Salty rewards manager's faith in Red Sox win [RedSox.com]

How history almost never happened: David Ortiz recalls the uncertain start of his Red Sox tenure [Alex Speier - WEEI.com]

For more slices of Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, CSN New England,  ESPN Boston, NESN, Providence Journal, RedSox.com and WEEI websites.

And if you must check out the enemy news, be sure to head over to the Arlington Daily Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune websites.

Follow Ian on Twitter @soxanddawgs. And be sure to like us on Facebook as well.

photo credit: Getty Images

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