SAN FRANCISCO — If any of the tired-out Boston Red Sox needed a little energy boost after a cross-country flight, looking to Jon Lester sure did the trick.
Lester pitched into the ninth for his first victory in four tries this month, and the AL East-leading Red Sox beat the San Francisco Giants 7-0 on Monday night after flying earlier in the day.
Not that anybody seemed overly sleepy, though Dustin Pedroia was eager to get back to the team hotel for some shuteye.
"Obviously, these guys had a long day," Lester said. "For us to come with that travel schedule, which guys aren't normally accustomed to, and do what we did tonight was big for us."
Stephen Drew and Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit RBI doubles, Shane Victorino added an RBI single among his three hits and Will Middlebrooks had a sacrifice fly for Boston. The Red Sox chose to travel first thing Monday rather than late Sunday night after a 9-6 loss to the Yankees at Fenway Park.
Lester (11-7) allowed six hits, struck out three and walked two in Boston's seventh shutout. He outpitched two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum (6-13) to snap a three-start winless stretch since a victory at Baltimore on July 28. Lester gave way to Brandon Workman after allowing a pair of one-out singles in the ninth.
Lincecum was done after five-plus innings and lost for the fourth time in his last five decisions. Two of his four walks were intentional free passes to Middlebrooks.
Giants pitchers had a balk, wild pitch and hit batsman in the same home game for the first time since April 10, 2010, against Atlanta.
The two clubs faced off for just their fourth series and first since Boston took two of three at AT&T Park in an injury-plagued stop. In a lengthy tribute to the Boston Marathon bombing victims before the game, players from both sides walked out of their dugouts and stood on their respective baselines in a show of solidarity and support.
Lester retired the first nine Giants in order before Andres Torres lined a single to left leading off the fourth. The Boston left-hander tossed a complete game — also against Lincecum — in his lone other start against San Francisco, a five-hitter on June 27, 2010, at AT&T Park.
He nearly did it again.
"Jon was exactly what we needed," manager John Farrell said. "We needed a strong pitching performance. On a night when we could use a guy to get deep in the game, he gave us just that. He wanted every potential to finish out that game but we had agreed that he wasn't going to go out and grind through the ninth inning just to throw a complete game. Outstanding effort on his part."
Boston staked Lester to an early lead with three runs in the second — showing no signs of being weary from a 4-hour, 12-minute game Sunday night and then the travel. Middlebrooks hit a sacrifice fly and a balk by Lincecum forced in another run.
"He really didn't have his good stuff, and he's been throwing the ball well," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He got some pitches up. They're a good hitting ball club and they took advantage of it."
Torres also singled in the sixth and eighth innings to finish with three of San Francisco's six hits and his first multihit game since June 29 at Colorado. The Giants, who had their own long trip home Sunday from Miami, were blanked for the 10th time.