Jon Lester got his retribution on Sunday by pitching seven strong innings for the Boston Red Sox who stymied the Toronto Blue Jays 6-0 at Fenway Park.
Lester (18-8) was in full control in the series finale, giving up four hits, no runs and striking out four as the Red Sox (83-66) avoided the sweep.
In his last start against Toronto (75-74), Lester gave up a career-high nine runs while going a career-low two innings in a 16-2 loss on Aug. 20.
Shaun Marcum (12-8) was on fire early on, but fell apart in the fifth as he finished the day going 5 1-3 innings, giving up six earned runs over nine hits while striking out three.
Although Lester has been the ‘k’ king as of late — striking out 10 or more batters in his last four starts — it was the Jays’ Marcum who was sitting batters down early, fanning the side in the first.
But Lester came back and picked up two strikeouts of his own the next inning before finding himself in trouble in the third.
After sitting down the first two batters, John McDonald singled and Mike McCoy and Yunel Escobar walked, but the Boston ace was able to get Jose Bautista to ground out with the bases loaded.
The Red Sox broke the stalemate in the fourth inning when Victor Martinez got hold of an 0-2 pitch and sent a solo shot into the right-field stands.
Toronto came back hard in the fifth. First J.P. Arencibia walked after battling Lester in a nine-pitch at bat, and then McDonald followed up with his second hit of the day as he laced a ground-ball single through the infield.
McCoy kept the inning alive as he took the second pitch he saw, pulling a hard liner into left field for a single, giving Bautista another shot with the bases loaded.
But Bautista was unable to cash in once again, as he ground out to third to end the threat.
Boston was not to be outmatched as they put together a rally of its own in the bottom of the inning.
Jed Lowrie and Bill Hall kicked off the inning with back-to-back singles and Daniel Nava made Marcum pay, smacking a ground-rule double into right field, scoring Lowrie.
With men on second and third, Yamaico Navarro got a hold of a Marcum fastball and ground a single into left field where McCoy made an error on the play, allowing the runners to score and putting the Sox up 4-0.
The bleeding continued as Marcum hung a fastball over the plate and J.D. Drew made him pay, smashing his 19th homer of the season into the right-field seats to push the lead to 6-0.
Marcum was pulled from the game after surrendering two more hits in the sixth, and Brad Mills came in in relief, going 1 2/3 innings while giving up a walk.
Scott Atchison and Robert Coello combined for three innings of work to preserve the shutout.
Two streaks came to an end on Sunday afternoon as the Jays failed to homer for the first time in 19 games while Jon Lester failed to strike out more than 10 batters fir the first time in four starts.
Bautista will get a chance to hit his 50th long ball of the season at home when the Blue Jays take on the Seattle Mariners for a three-game set starting Tuesday.
With the loss, Marcum will have to wait one more start before getting a shot at a career high 13th win.