Red Sox - 003 000 000 - 3 8 1 Royals - 300 100 00x - 4 9 0Lester (5-6-4-1-3, 108) threw 38 pitches in the first inning, insuring that he would have a short night. It was a bizarre inning in which Marlon Byrd committed an two-base error on a ball hit right at him and Cody Ross bobbled and lost control of another fly ball on the track in left-center. All three first-inning runs were unearned.
Boston loaded the bases in the third on singles by Byrd, Ryan Sweeney and Dustin Pedroia. With two outs, Adrian Gonzalez brought them all in, tying the game with a double to right-center.
The Royals retook the lead on doubles by Irving Falu and Alcides Escobar.
In the ninth, against Jonathan Broxton, Ross singled and Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked. Bobby Valentine had Byrd bunt the runners to second and third. That did no good, as Sweeney lined out to short left and Mike Aviles grounded out to shortstop.
Will Middlebrooks went 0-for-4 (K, 1-3, 6-3, F9) and did not set a new record with at least one extra-base hit in the first six games of his career. He'll have to settle for sharing the MLB record of five games with Enos Slaughter.
It was a chore to listen to NESN tonight.
Dennis Eckersley harped on a first-inning non-strike call made by home plate umpire Jeff Nelson against Lester for the entire night. (He whined and moaned so much I thought he was auditioning for a job in the Tampa Bay booth.) If Lester had been given the call, it would have ended a 1-2-3 first inning on 14 pitches. Eck's point was the non-strike three call - which, by the way, was not a strike according to NESN's pitch zone - "forced" Lester to throw another 24 pitches. So, Lester had 24 additional chances to get the final out and couldn't do it, all because the big, bad umpire did his job correctly. An ace has got to rise above stuff like that (and misplays in the field); Lester couldn't do it. (I was hoping to post the f/x picture, but it does not currently have Lester's info.)
Also, in the top of the first, Don Orsillo said something about Chen's starts at Kauffman Stadium this year and then told us Chen's career won-loss record at home (30-26). What makes this useless bit of trivia even more pointless is that Chen has pitched for 10 teams in his 15-year major league career and, therefore, has called 10 different parks "home". Memo to Orsillo: Just because something is in the media guide or that night's press notes doesn't mean you have to read it.
Aviles, SSRIP Carl Beane.