A week ago, the Red Sox were the height of dysfunction, inviting boos even at celebrations of their 100-year-old ballpark by choking away nine-run leads and inventing new and depressing ways to lose.

And now?

Six consecutive victories, all on the road, have boosted their record, not to mention their spirits, to the .500 mark for the first time this season, and the recovery has happened much faster than anyone thought possible.

The wins are taking all forms, too. After five days of beating opponents into submission with an unrelenting offense, the Red Sox turned last night to a tried-and-true formula: an exceptional start from ace Jon Lester, then two innings of shutdown relief pitching unlike any they had seen in the season's first three weeks.

It all added up to a 1-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on another frosty night at U.S. Cellular Field. The Red Sox have matched their longest winning streak since July 5-11 of last season, and their longest surge on the road since last June 7-12.