Red Sox hit 4 homers in 8-2 victory over Blue Jays

Boston Red Sox's Kevin Youkilis, left, runs past Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero after hitting a home run in the first inning of AL baseball game action in Toronto on Sunday, May 31, 2009. <br><I>AP Photo

TORONTO - A dominant start by Jon Lester left Vernon Wells confused about the Boston left-hander's season so far.

Lester struck out a career-high 12, Kevin Youkilis homered twice, and Dustin Pedroia hit a three-run shot as the Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-2 on Sunday.

"It started with Lester," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He was powerful."

Lester (4-5) came in with a 6.07 ERA, having lost three of his past four outings, but held the Blue Jays to just one run and three infield singles with three walks over six innings, lowering his ERA to 5.65.

"You kind of wonder how a guy like that comes into the game with a 6.00 ERA with the kind of stuff that he has," said Wells, Toronto's center fielder. "When he's on, it's difficult. And when you see the kind of numbers he put up against us, especially with the strikeouts, it was impressive."

Lester's 12 strikeouts were the most by a Red Sox pitcher this season and the most by a Boston left-hander since Bruce Hurst struck out 14 against Oakland on May 5, 1987.

"He could have beat anybody with the stuff he had today," Toronto manager Cito Gaston said.

Lester, who threw 115 pitches, said his only regret was getting pulled so early.

"I would have liked to give some of those strikeouts back and go deeper," Lester said.

Jason Bay also homered for the Red Sox, who tweaked their lineup to shake themselves out of a recent offensive slump. Nine of Boston's 11 hits were for extra-bases.

Batting leadoff for the first time this season, Pedroia hit his second homer of the season off the left-field foul screen in the fourth inning. The homer was Pedroia's first since he went deep in his first plate appearance of the season, April 7 against Tampa Bay - a span of 190 at bats.

Pedroia was bumped up and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury dropped to eighth as Francona tried to boost the offense after watching his team score just 13 runs in its previous five games.

Toronto left-hander Ricky Romero (2-2) allowed five runs and six hits in four-plus innings. He walked five and struck out five.

Indians 5, Yankees 4

At Cleveland, Jhonny Peralta drove in three runs, including the winning single with one out in the ninth inning.

Mark Teixeira extended his season-high hitting streak to 13 games and drove in four runs for New York.

Kerry Wood (2-2) pitched one scoreless inning for the win.

Tigers 3, Orioles 0

At Baltimore, Edwin Jackson allowed two hits over eight innings, Curtis Granderson homered, and the Tigers earned a split of the four-game series.

Jackson (5-3) struck out seven and permitted only three baserunners.

Fernando Rodney allowed a two-out walk but got three outs to complete the two-hitter and earn his 10th save.

Twins 3, Rays 2

At St. Petersburg, Fla., Brendan Harris homered and Justin Morneau and Carlos Gomez also drove in runs to help the Twins avoid a sweep.

Nick Blackburn (5-2) allowed two runs and seven hits over six innings, and the Twins scored all their runs off Matt Garza (4-4) to end a three-game losing streak.

Carlos Pena hit his AL-leading 17th homer for the Rays. Garza was unable to hold a 2-1 lead after limiting the Twins to two hits over the first five innings.

Athletics 5, Rangers 4

At Arlington, Texas, Adam Kennedy homered twice, including a one-out tiebreaker in the ninth for the first run allowed by Texas reliever Frank Francisco this season, and the Athletics ended a four-game skid.

Kennedy hit a 1-0 pitch off Francisco (1-1) into the right field seats, ending a streak of 28 appearances without allowing an earned run. Francisco had 17 2-3 scoreless innings in his first 17 appearances this season, the most in the majors without allowing a run.

Andrew Bailey (4-0) pitched the final 1 2-3 innings to earn the win.

White Sox 7, Royals 4

At Kansas City, Mo., Chris Getz hit a tiebreaking two-run single off Juan Cruz in the ninth inning, and the White Sox earned their first three-game sweep in Kansas City since 2005.

The Royals bullpen squandered another respectable start by Zack Greinke, who had been only the third pitcher since 1920 with a sub-1.00 ERA 10 starts into a season.

John Bale (0-1) came in with one out in the ninth and gave up A.J. Pierzynski's third hit and walked Brian Anderson. After Cruz walked Josh Fields, Getz singled into right. He scored on a single by Scott Podsednik, who also doubled, tripled and scored twice as the White Sox completed a 5-1 road trip.

Angels 9, Mariners 8

At Anaheim, Calif., Kendry Morales capped a three-run ninth inning with a bases-loaded RBI single and the Angels overcame a seven-run deficit to avoid a three-game sweep.

Seattle closer David Aardsma (1-2), who had converted all eight of his save chances and hadn't allowed a run in 14 1-3 innings, failed to protect an 8-6 lead for starter Garrett Olson.

Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki extended his hitting streak to 24 games with four hits, including a home run.

The seven-run deficit was the largest the Angels have overcome in a victory since July 15, 1996 at Texas.

Justin Speier (1-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the victory.

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