Boston sent 10 men to the plate in a five-run outburst in the fourth inning, and got everybody to the plate again in a three-run fifth in taking a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
It was an embarrassment of riches given the way Lester was throwing, as the left-hander limited Tampa Bay to three hits in 7-2/3 innings, striking out seven while walking three.
Lester struck out the first four batters before giving up a home run over the fabled Green Monster wall in left to Sean Rodriguez that gave the Rays a 1-0 lead.
He yielded another Green Monster homer to Ben Zobrist leading off the fourth to fall behind 2-0.
But that deficit evaporated in a mid-game eruption by the Red Sox as doubles rang off the bats of David Ortiz, Jonny Gomes, Will Middlebrooks, Mike Napoli and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in their two big innings.
The Red Sox had six hits in the fourth, and four hits along with two intentional walks in the fifth.
Boston tacked on four more runs in the eighth as every Red Sox starter had at least one hit among the 14 total in the game along with a run scored.
Rays starter and loser Matt Moore gave up eight runs, seven earned, in 4-1/3 innings on eight hits and two walks.
Game Two of the series is scheduled for Saturday at Fenway Park.
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