Red Sox - 102 000 000 - 3 8 1 Rays - 112 130 00x - 8 10 1On a night when the Red Sox needed their starting pitcher to go deep into the game, Lester (4.2-8-7-7-3, 98) failed utterly. He needed 70 pitches to get through three innings, and his seven walks tied a career high. All seven runs he allowed scored with two outs.
In his last five starts (30 innings), Lester has allowed 38 hits and 18 walks (6.90 ERA).
Jose De La Torre, called up from Pawtucket as a fresh arm in a tattered bullpen, took the ball the rest of the way, throwing 3.1 innings.
Boston actually held the lead twice, at 1-0 and 3-2, but Lester's inability to maintain control of the strike zone gave Tampa Bay ample opportunities to come back. Lester and De La Torre walked a total of 10 opposing batters, a season-high (and/or -worst) for the Red Sox staff.
Jacoby Ellsbury singled and stole second (#27) without a throw to start the game. He went to third on Shane Victorino's single and scored on Dustin Pedroia's foul fly to right field. In the third, Jose Iglesias and Ellsbury scored on Mike Napoli's bloop single to center.
Lester's night began horribly and never improved. He walked four batters in the first inning, the last free pass bringing in a run. Desmond Jennings homered in the second. In the third, Ryan Roberts and Jose Molina had run-scoring singles. Lester's night finally came to an end when he surrendered a long, two-run home run to Matt Joyce.
De La Torre came in and gave up another bomb to Jennings, but kept Tampa off the scoreboard for the next three innings.
Tampa Bay hit four home runs last night and hit four more taters tonight. It's the first time in franchise history they have hit at least four home runs in consecutive games.
Hernandez (7-7-3-2-7, 122) drilled Pedroia in the left arm to start the eighth inning, a move that was likely retaliation for John Lackey hitting Joyce last night. I question whether Rays manager Joe Maddon will fulminate as vociferously over Hernandez's "mistake" as he did over Lackey's.
Ellsbury, CFHaving used seven relievers, including Wednesday's scheduled starter, Franklin Morales, in last night's 14-inning victory, the Red Sox will likely make some roster moves today. Peter Abraham goes over a few possibilities, noting that right-hander Jose De La Torre will likely be in the bullpen tonight. Alfredo Aceves could be recalled to start tomorrow night.