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Red Sox 7, Twins 6

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- Jon Lester wasn't as sharp as he was the last time he took the mound.

Lester, the winning pitcher for Boston in the 2007 World Series clincher, walked four of nine batters he faced Saturday in his first spring start, the Red Sox's 7-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Lester gave up five runs -- four earned -- and got only three outs.

"It's early," Lester said. "My fastball wasn't very good. I was just kind of behind with everything right now. It's just a work in progress. That's what spring training is for."

Lester entered last season as the No. 1 prospect in Boston's minor league system and worked his way back from cancer, making his biggest mark in the postseason.

"It doesn't matter if you're Curt Schilling and have 15 years in the big leagues or you're Josh Beckett or whoever," Lester said. "You still want to demonstrate to them that you're a good pitcher. It's tough when you go out there the first time and you don't do a very good job.

"Hopefully I can bounce back," he added. "I just have to make sure I'm healthy and start strong. It's kind of tough when you rely on your fastball and you can't locate that. Next time, I'll just go back out and get 'em."

Prospect Brandon Moss, an outfielder and first baseman, hit the go-ahead RBI single for Boston in the top of the eighth off loser Kevin Mulvey.

Jonathan Papelbon pitched a scoreless fourth inning. Joe Mauer singled, but Delmon Young struck out and then Justin Morneau grounded into a double play.

Papelbon wore teammate Manny Ramirez's No. 24 jersey because he left his No. 58 back in he clubhouse; Ramirez did not make the trip across town.

"It looked better than 99," Papelbon said.

Papelbon is in spring training without having the uncertainty he faced last year over his role as a starter or closer.

"I know what my routine is. It's just a matter of perfecting it, and that's it. I'm not worried about anything else," Papelbon said.

Moss went 2-for-2, third base prospect Joey Thurston went 2-for-3, and catcher Dusty Brown went 2-for-2 with a solo home run for the Red Sox -- the only multihit performances in the game.

The game lasted 3 hours, 18 minutes. Boston walked nine and Minnesota seven.

Twins lefty Randy Keisler, a long shot to make the team, walked three and gave up three earned runs with one strikeout in 1 1-3 innings before he was pulled for Nick Blackburn.

"It's the first time out for a couple of them," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It's just not very fun in the dugout. It makes for very slow baseball."

Mulvey, one of the prospects acquired from the Mets in the Johan Santana trade, allowed five hits and two runs -- one earned -- over two innings. Carlos Gomez, another part of the Santana deal, went 1-for-2 with a run scored, an RBI and a stolen base.