LOS ANGELES-Two baseball titans collided Saturday afternoon at Caesar Chavez Ravine. Something had to give between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox. The Dodgers blanked the Red Sox in the three-game season opener at home. Round 2 went to the Red Sox.
The hot-hitting Dodgers went up against a buzz saw in pitcher Jon Lester and found themselves whiffing fastballs for strikeouts as the Red Sox claimed a 4-2 road win. Lester (12-7) was impressive, giving up just three hits and striking out six in 7 1/3 innings to the Dodgers.
Lester said he felt good going out against the Dodgers.
“It was good,” Lester said. “For the most part commanded the ball pretty well, was able to move the fastball around and get some weight contact from a good-hitting lineup. It feels good.”
Great pitching has always been the staple for both of these ballclubs. The last two games between the interleague teams have showcased that.
If not for a first inning mistake by pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu when he handed over a three-run home run to Johnny Gomes by extending a fastball over the plate, the Dodgers may have claimed a second straight win over the Red Sox.
Gomes’ three-run shot was all the Red Sox needed to hand Jin Ryu (12-5) just his fifth defeat of the season. The Red Sox scored all their runs in the top half of the first inning. Those four runs were a big lift for Lester before he even took the mound.
“Obviously that’s huge,” Lester said. “Anytime that you’re able to, especially come into someone else’s park and put up four in the first before you even take the mound…it makes it let your guard a little bit as far trying to be too perfect.”
Jin Ryu had came into the game on sort of a roll, winning six of his last seven outings and posting a 6-1 mark through 11 games at home. Jin Ryu had also pitched at least six innings in 20 of the previous 24 games he appeared in. That wasn’t the case in the Dodgers’ second game against the Red Sox.
Jin Ryu last only five innings in this one, accounting for all four runs surrendered. Outside of that first inning, Jin Ryu pitched well, striking out seven Red Sox batters. That couldn’t be said about Dodgers hitters, who collected just five hits in the game. Yasiel Puig belted two of those hits.
The Dodgers cut the Red Sox’s lead in half when Adrian Gonzalez laced a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning, spurring hope that a comeback would happen for the 30th time this season. Unfortunately for the Dodgers this time around that didn’t happen.