David Ortiz and Jon Lester each got off to a slow start and picked it up in the second month of the season.
Yup, just like last year.
Ortiz capped his big May with his 11th homer of the season, and Lester pitched seven strong innings, helping the Boston Red Sox beat the Kansas City Royals, 8-1, on Sunday to salvage a split of the four-game series.
Lester, just 1-2 with a 4.71 earned-run average in April, is 6-0 with a 1.43 ERA in his last seven starts. Ortiz, who hit .143 with one homer and four RBIs in the first month of the season, batted .363 in May with 10 homers and 27 RBIs.
“People started trash-talking too early,” Ortiz said.
Lester felt Ortiz deserved more support after his slow start because he came back strong last season, finishing with 28 homers and 99 RBIs.
“I don’t think anybody doubted him,” Lester said. “He started off slow last year and put up great numbers. I started off slow in April. Players start of slow.”
Ortiz batted .230 with no homers in April last year. Lester was 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA.
“He took some good swings today,” Boston manager Terry Francona said of Ortiz. “He’s really taking good swings. He’s gotten to the point where he really feels good about himself. You can see it in his body language. When they make a mistake, he hits it a long way.”
Lester (6-2) allowed one run and four hits. He retired 11 of 12 batters over the middle innings as the Red Sox opened a 7-1 lead.
“His pitch count got up a little bit, but he always made a big pitch when he needed to kind of limit the damage,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He pitched a good game. His cutter was the pitch that would get him out of trouble.”