Whatever was bothering Jon Lester early in the season, it is no longer bothering him.
Certainly, the Mariners were no bother Monday night at Fenway Park.
The one-time all-state pick from Tacoma’s Bellarmine Prep was on his game, giving up eight mostly harmless hits in the Boston Red Sox’s 6-1 triumph. He retired the first 11 batters and allowed only two runners as far as second base until the ninth inning, when the Mariners pushed across their lone run.
Lester’s second consecutive complete game — he has given up five earned runs in 27 innings — was Boston’s fourth win in a row, despite the injury absences of lineup stalwarts Carl Crawford, Kevin Youkilis and Jacoby Ellsbury. The Mariners lost for the third time in four games on their 10-game road trip.
Meanwhile, Mariners starter Jason Vargas wasn’t terrible, but gave up homers to two lesser names in the Red Sox lineup and took the loss.
“He didn’t have the command he’s had,” said manager Eric Wedge. “He pitched a pretty good game, but where he missed, did damage. Our hits didn’t do much damage.”
Vargas found trouble right away. After a one-out walk to Dustin Pedroia in the first inning, he gave up doubles to David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzales for a 2-0 lead.
Three more came in on the fourth when Daniel Nava hit a two-run homer, just edging into the from row of the Green Monster, and Kelly Shoppach followed with a no-doubter that landed on Landsdown Street outside Fenway.
The Mariners’ only moment of offense — other than a single that extended Dustin Ackley’s hitting streak to 10 games, a club high this season — was in the ninth when Ichiro, who broke up the perfect game in the fourth with an infield hit, singled and went to third on a double by Justin Smoak. Seager’s infield grounder scored Ichiro.
The Mariners’ only visit to Boston this season concludes Tuesday, when the Mariners start Blake Beavan against Boston’s Josh Beckett. The game begins at 1 p.m.