- Associated Press - Thursday, September 2, 2010

BALTIMORE | Jon Lester felt uncomfortable on the mound, struggled with his control and put the Boston Red Sox in a deep hole after only two innings of work.

And still the left-hander delivered another victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Marco Scutaro and Adrian Beltre homered in a six-run seventh inning, and Boston won 9-6 on Wednesday night to improve Lester’s lifetime record against Baltimore to a stunning 13-0.

J.D. Drew also homered for the Red Sox, who trailed 5-2 before rallying to end a three-game skid. Boston remains eight games behind AL East-leader New York and trails second-place Tampa Bay by seven games.

“We need to chip away and get some wins,” Lester said. “It was big that we could come back tonight.”

Lester’s latest victory against the Orioles was anything but typical. He came in with a 2.00 career ERA against the Orioles and was 2-0 with an 0.47 ERA in his three starts this year.

Lester yielded more runs (five) in the first two innings than in any of his previous 15 outings against Baltimore.

“Usually this mound is one of my favorite places to pitch. For some reason it felt like a rainstorm had come through,” he said. “It was wet and I had clumps on the bottom of my shoe and was slipping a little bit.”

Fortunately, Lester recovered in time to give Boston a chance to make up the deficit.

“I think once he started to settle in and really pitch, he was able to drop all his off-speed pitches in there for strikes,” Baltimore’s Ty Wigginton said. “When you’re facing a pitcher like Lester and he’s able to throw four pitches for a strike, it gets tough.”

Beginning with the last out in the second inning, Lester retired 11 straight — seven by strikeouts.

“It’s a testament to him, keeping the club in the game and not giving in,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said.

Lester (15-8) allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings. He struck out 10, walked two, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.

“Early on, I really didn’t have a feel for what was going on. I don’t really know how to explain it,” Lester said.

When he walked off the mound for the last time, Boston trailed 5-3. Lester then watched in the dugout as the Red Sox batted around in the seventh.

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