Baseball

Drew, Lester lift Red Sox, 8-1

toronto – With J.D. Drew rested and refreshed, the Boston Red Sox are on a roll.

Drew homered twice, Jon Lester pitched eight strong innings, and the Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 8-1, on Thursday night to complete a three-game sweep.

Victor Martinez connected for the second straight game for the Red Sox, who have hit two or more homers in six consecutive games, nine of 10 and 15 of 19.

“It seems like when one guy gets hot, a lot of guys get hot,” Drew said. “The key is to try and keep going as a team, get quality at-bats, getting guys in key situations.”

The Red Sox have 33 homers in August, two shy of the team record for that month set in 2006. The AL wild-card leaders have 10 games remaining this month, including a pivotal series this weekend against the East-leading New York Yankees at Fenway Park.

“We’re excited,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia said.

Hampered by a sore groin, Drew did not play Saturday and Sunday as the Red Sox lost twice in Texas, briefly dropping behind the Rangers in the wild card race. Boston was off Monday, giving Drew a three-day breather.

“I needed a chance for my groin to catch up, and it worked out that I had a couple of days with the day off,” Drew said. “Definitely, when I came back and started playing, I felt a heck of a lot better than I did going into it.”

Drew hit a leadoff homer to right during the second inning and a two-run drive to almost the same spot during the third, and he finished with four hits. The homers, Nos. 14 and 15, came off rookie left-hander Brett Cecil.

Martinez hit a leadoff homer off the facing of the second deck in the seventh off Shawn Camp as the Blue Jays lost their fifth straight.

Lester (10-7), a Bellarmine Prep graduate, allowed one run and three hits to win for the first time in five starts and improve to 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA in four outings against Toronto this season. After the first three batters reached safely, the left-hander set down 22 of the final 24 batters he faced. Despite his dominance, Lester said he never felt comfortable.

“It was just one of those nights where it’s a battle from the beginning,” Lester said. “Not only do you have to battle the other team, but you have to battle yourself and just try to stay one step ahead of them.”

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