As he took the mound to face the Minnesota Twins last night at Fenway Park, Red Sox lefty Jon Lester knew his bullpen was going to be lacking depth.

Closer Koji Uehara wasn’t available.

Left-hander Andrew Miller wasn’t available.

So what happened? After needing only eight pitches to get out of the first inning in his previous start, Lester needed a whopping 33 pitches to retire the Twins in the first inning.

The good news for the Red Sox was that Lester didn’t allow any runs. The bad news, naturally, was that a 33-pitch first inning was bound to force Sox manager John Farrell to go to his depleted bullpen earlier than he wanted.

Yet there was Lester, still pitching in the seventh inning. He opened the inning by getting Oswaldo Arcia on a pop to second, and that’s when Farrell came out to collect his starter. Lester received a rousing ovation from the sellout crowd, and why not? He allowed just one run in 61⁄3 innings, and he improved his record to 8-7 in the Sox’ 2-1 victory.

Though he needed another 17 pitches to get out of the second inning, his total was 109 when he was removed for right-hander Burke Badenhop.

“He somehow found a way to become more efficient,” Farrell said. “You know, 33 pitches in the first and I believe 15-plus in the second, it might be shorter than the ability to get in that seventh inning.

“But he found a way. He was able to induce more early outs and not as many foul balls. And, really, his performance allowed us to piece some things together with the bullpen when we had a couple of guys we were trying to stay away from.”

It didn’t help Lester that he threw 11 pitches to the Twins’ leadoff hitter, Danny Santana, who wound up singling to center. But Brian Dozier lined out to right and Joe Mauer flied to left. After Josh Willingham walked, Kendrys Morales popped out to second to end the threat.

“Lot of pitches that inning,” Lester lamented. “Couldn’t figure out how to get the leadoff hitter out. . . . I was just fortunate to get out of that inning without any runs on the board.