O's 2, Sox 1: J.J. Hardy Answers With 2-Run Homer

No sooner had the Red Sox taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning -- while the Yankees were going way ahead of the Rays down in Florida -- than Jon Lester gave the lead right away.

Chris Davis led off the bottom of the third inning with a walk. After a fielder's choice and another ground-out, Nolan Reimold stood on second base with two outs, with J.J. Hardy due next.

Lester's first pitch to Hardy was a cut fastball, which was supposed to start on the inner half of the plate before coming inside and busting Hardy's bat. Instead it started in the middle of the plate and broke right into Hardy's happy zone, and he blasted the pitch over the left-field fence for a two-run homer and a 2-1 lead.

This game's all about the Red Sox (and secondarily, the Rays). But can't we spare a moment to applaud J.J. Hardy, who's now hit 30 home runs this season, after hitting only six homers last season and 11 the season before?

Hardy, once considered one of the National League's best shortstops, can now make the same claim in the American League.

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