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Sat, May 25, 2013 - 1:35 PM ET
 

Indians-Red Sox Preview

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Jon Lester has always pitched well against the Cleveland Indians. More recently, he has come to excel at Fenway Park.

On Saturday afternoon, he'll have a chance to put the two together as he looks to propel the Boston Red Sox to a second straight victory.

Lester (6-1, 3.15 ERA), making his first home start against the Indians (27-20) since August 4, 2010, has been dominant at Progressive Field. He is 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA versus Cleveland since the 2011 season, striking out 33 in 26 innings. That includes a start on April 18, in which he surrendered two runs and four hits over seven innings of a 6-3 victory.

The left-hander has also seemingly solved last season's woes at Fenway. In 2012, he posted a 6.31 ERA at home, as opponents hit .302 off of him. This season, he has recorded a 1.66 ERA in Boston, allowing 12 hits over 21 2-3 innings. In his last home start, he retired the first 17 hitters before ultimately finishing with a one-hitter in a 5-0 win over Toronto.

"My job was easy. I put the glove there and he hit it,'' catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "I don't think whoever we were facing could have hit him.''

Lester wasn't so good in his last start, however, as he gave up six runs in six innings of a 6-4 defeat to the Chicago White Sox on Monday. After winning Lester's first five starts of the season, Boston has won just two of his last five.

Lester will face a familiar foe in Cleveland's Nick Swisher, who has 15 hits off him in 49 career at-bats. Only Derek Jeter has more hits off the Boston lefty. Swisher will look to provide some pop for an Indians offense that has two home runs in its last four games after hitting 10 during a five-game winning streak.

After batting .203 with six extra-base hits while losing three of four, Boston (29-20) scored eight runs Friday for its highest total since last Saturday.

That offense came in spite of the absence of Will Middlebrooks and Shane Victorino, who were both placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday. Mike Carp provided the biggest hit with a three-run homer in the second inning, breaking an 0-for-21 slump.

"It definitely means a lot,'' Carp said. ''I've been struggling for playing time and to have a big at bat like that it builds confidence heading into the next couple days.''

The Red Sox will look to keep up their momentum against struggling Scott Kazmir (2-2, 6.35), who has posted a 10.13 ERA over his last two starts.

He lasted a season-low three-plus innings against Seattle on Monday, yielding five runs and seven hits but escaped without a decision in a wild 10-8 win.

"The last two just didn't really go my way," Kazmir told the Indians' official website. "I never really got into a groove."

Kazmir has plenty of experience against Boston. His 139 2-3 innings against the Red Sox are by far his most against any team. He has a 4.06 lifetime ERA versus Boston.

The left-hander has handled David Ortiz (10 for 46) but Dustin Pedroia is 17 for 33 (.515) in their matchups.

Tagged: Red Sox, Indians, Scott Kazmir, Jon Lester

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