CHICAGO -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia blasted a two-run homer to give the Red Sox an early lead they would never relinquish, while Jon Lester continued to show the return of his swing-and-miss arsenal, as the Red Sox claimed a 4-3 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Saltalamacchia went 2-for-3 with a double, a homer and a walk, ending a seven-game stretch in which he did not have an extra-base hit. His two-run shot to right in the fourth was his 12th of the season, and he currently leads the majors in home runs by a catcher. The Sox would later plate two more runs on RBI singles by Scott Podsednik and Will Middlebrooks to claim a 4-0 cushion, enough to permit Lester a seventh-inning, three-run falter after he'd opened the game with six dominant innings.
Lester (4-4, 4.53 ERA) went 6 2/3 innings, getting touched for all three of the runs he permitted in the seventh while allowing seven hits, walking one and striking out eight. In his last four starts, Lester has 29 strikeouts and just four walks in 26 1/3 innings.
The Red Sox bullpen delivered an outstanding performance in support of Lester, with Scott Atchsion (one batter, one out), Vicente Padilla (perfect eighth, two strikeouts) and Alfredo Aceves (single, strikeout, game-ending double play) recording the last seven outs. The Sox improved to 32-33 with the victory, with a chance to return to Boston with a .500 record if they can win on Sunday night.
For a complete breakdown of the game, click here for Closing Time. For comprehensive Red Sox coverage, visit weei.com/redsox .