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Lester adds seven shutout frames to hot start

Spotted with early led, left-hander eases through Toronto lineup

TORONTO -- It was a performance that would usually be the lead story in just about any game. Red Sox lefty Jon Lester fired seven shutout innings Sunday, allowing just five hits and no walks while registering six strikeouts in a 13-0 win against the Blue Jays.

But Lester's effort Sunday took second fiddle to his offense, which belted six home runs, including three by Will Middlebrooks.

Lester will gladly be overshadowed when it means the team is doing well.

It was a relatively stress-free day for the lefty, who had a 5-0 lead before he even threw a pitch.

"It's a good way to start, especially with the offense they have on the other side," said Lester. "Anytime you can get a little bit of breathing room and put them on the defense, it obviously takes a little pressure off me and makes them try to work the count a little more. So we can not necessarily change the game plan, but attack a little bit more than normal. We were able to do that."

From the first day of Spring Training, Lester has looked like a pitcher determined to wash away the bitter taste of 2012, when he went 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA.

Through two starts, Lester is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA.

"He's definitely a different guy from what I saw from last year," said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "Last year, he was fighting himself a little bit. He wasn't getting that downward angle he's getting right now. He's just a completely different pitcher and it's impressive to see. The cutter has tight spin and has some quick cut to it. The curveball has become better because of it. And the changeup is one of his best secondary pitches, and he doesn't have to throw it too often."

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.
Read More: Boston Red Sox, Jon Lester