Jacoby Ellsbury hit a three-run homer and Jon Lester struck out eight, and the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in the opening game of a doubleheader Tuesday.
Lester (12-6) got the win against fellow All-Star James Shields, who pitched nearly as well and deeper into the game but received little support from the Rays' offense.
Shields (11-10) retired the last 15 batters he faced and struck out six. The only three hits he allowed were a pair of singles by Josh Reddick and Mike Aviles, followed by Ellsbury's homer deep into the right-field stands. It was Ellsbury's 21st home run of the season — one more than he hit in his first three years combined.
That was all the offense Lester and the Boston bullpen needed in a game that lasted 2 hours, 24 minutes and included just six hits.
Daniel Bard pitched a perfect eighth and Jonathan Papelbon got his 28th save in the ninth when Dustin Pedroia made a diving grab on B.J. Upton's line drive headed for center field.
Lester pitched seven innings, holding the Rays to just three hits and no runs after Desmond Jennings scored on a fielder's choice in the first inning.
Lester retired 12 straight batters before Evan Longoria's single to left with one out in the sixth. The hit hardly disrupted Lester, who struck out Ben Zobrist and B.J. Upton to end the inning.
The game was a makeup from a rain-out April 13.
Notes: Former Boston outfielder Johnny Damon received a mix of cheers and boos when he pinch hit for Elliot Johnson in the eighth, then struck out swinging. ... Boston DH David Ortiz was a late scratch from the lineup because of illness. ... RHP John Lackey, who is on a six-decision winning streak and is 11-8 despite a 6.13 ERA, faces LHP David Price (10-10, 3.76 ERA) in Wednesday's matinee series finale. ... Entering Tuesday's doubleheader, Lackey was tied with Lester for the staff lead in wins. ... Tuesday's opener was the first game between the two teams since the Red Sox edged the Rays 1-0 in 16 innings July 17 in St. Petersburg. ... The Red Sox, just off a six-game road trip to Minnesota and Seattle, returned home for just the three games with Tampa Bay and then head right out for eight games in Kansas City and Texas.
This program aired on August 16, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.