Kevin Youkilis broke open a close game with a three-run homer off Jon Lester as the White Sox beat the Red Sox, 7-5, Tuesday night at a steamy Fenway Park. Youkilis also walked and scored twice in the game and is 4-for-8 with two doubles, a home run and three runs scored in his first two games against his former team. Carl Crawford had three hits -- including two that didn't leave the infield -- and three steals, and is 5-for-7 in his first two games back.
Lester continued to look out of sorts, giving up six runs and seven hits while lasting just four innings in the oppressive heat, as the Red Sox fell to 7-12 in games started by the lefty this season. The trouble, as it has with several Red Sox starters all season, began in the first inning. Lester allowed three hits, a walk to Youkilis and two runs as the White Sox jumped out on top for the second straight night. Lester, who was forced to throw 27 pitches in the first, was bailed out when the inning ended on a strike out-caught stealing double play executed by Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
As was the case on Monday, the Red Sox responded immediately thanks to the bats and legs of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford. Ellsbury singled, stole second and scored on Crawford's single to right. Crawford stole second and scored on a single by Adrian Gonzalez.
Lester couldn't capitalize on the momentum, needing another 23 pitches to get through the second, while allowing the White Sox to take the lead for good. The White Sox delivered the knockout blow in the fourth when they put runners on second and third with two outs. Youkilis walked to the plate with Adam Dunn on deck. Lester fell behind Youkilis 3-0 and appeared ready to concede the walk with first base open. Instead, Youkilis watched the next two pitches go by for strikes. Lester tried to sneak another fastball by the White Sox third baseman but Youkilis crushed the 93 mph fastball to the second row of Monster seats for his fourth homer with the White Sox since the June 24 trade from Boston.
It was Youkilis' first Fenway homer with Chicago after 65 with the Red Sox. He circled the bases to the customary "Youuuk" chants. After the inning was over, Lester left to another type of response from the fans, a chorus of boos. Lester was finished after four innings and 91 pitches.
Humber, who threw a perfect game on April 21 at Seattle, was far from perfect on this night. But he was good enough to even his record at 4-4, allowing six hits and two runs over six innings. Kelly Shoppach connected for his second career pinch-hit home run with Will Middlebrooks aboard in a three-run rally in the eighth to cut the deficit to 7-5, but the Red Sox could get no closer and went in order in the ninth. Junichi Tazawa helped give the Red Sox a chance, allowing just one run over four innings of relief.