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Texas Looks To Take Series From Boston

(Sports Network) - Jon Lester goes for his seventh straight home win today, as he leads the Boston Red Sox into the finale of a four-game series with the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park.

Lester, who tossed a perfect inning in the All-Star game on Tuesday, has been one of the hottest pitchers around, especially at home, where has won six straight starts with a 1.60 ERA over that stretch. The left-hander, who is 11-1 with a 1.90 ERA in his last 15 starts overall, allowed two earned runs over six innings of a 14-3 win over Toronto in his last outing on July 9th.

In five career starts against Texas, Lester is a perfect 2-0 with a 3.55 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 33 innings.

Getting the nod for the Rangers is C.J. Wilson, who is 1-3 with a 3.05 ERA in seven road starts this season. His lone road win, however, did come at Boston on April 22nd, tossing 6 2/3 scoreless innings in a 3-0 blanking. It marked his first career start against the Red Sox.

Wilson, though, is coming off a shaky start last Sunday, when he allowed three earned runs over just 4 2/3 innings of a 4-1 loss against Baltimore. He walked five in his second shortest outing of the campaign.

With Lester and Wilson opposing each other this could be another tight game like Saturday, when Kevin Youkilis' sacrifice fly in the 11th inning gave the Red Sox a 3-2 win over the Rangers in the third contest of a four-game set from Fenway Park.

With Alexi Ogando (3-1) on the mound, Marco Scutaro led off the 11th with a walk. Darnell McDonald then laid down a bunt that Ogando fielded, but his rushed throw to second went off of Scutaro and into the outfield, putting runners at second and third. After an intentional walk to David Ortiz, Darren O'Day took the mound, and Youkilis lofted a fly ball to center that allowed Scutaro to score with ease for the win.

Youkilis went 2-for-4 and tied the game in the ninth with an RBI double, while Ortiz drove in the other run for the Red Sox, who had dropped three of four.

"You don't have to hit home runs to win ballgames," Youkilis said. "That shows tonight. That's one of the things I said in the dugout in extra innings. We don't need a home run."

John Lackey went seven innings in the start and was charged with two runs on seven hits with a pair of walks and three strikeouts. Manny Delcarmen (3-2) got the win for throwing a flawless 11th inning.

Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz each had two hits and an RBI for the Rangers, who have lost five of seven.

Cliff Lee made his second start in a Texas uniform and again went nine innings as he was charged with two runs on six hits with a walk and six strikeouts.

"Still kind of frustrated with giving up that run in the ninth when we've got a one-run lead there," Lee said. "But other than that I'm pretty pleased with how it went."

Boston took two of three bouts from the Rangers in an April series and have won in 12 of the past 17 meetings between the teams held in Beantown.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.