Lester can't recover in 1st after Gomes' error

Lester can't recover in 1st after Gomes' error
August 9, 2013, 1:00 am
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KANSAS CITY – With runners on first and second and one out, the fly ball to left field by Alex Gordon likely would have been a play Jon Lester would have wanted in that situation.  Most times he knows his left fielder – in this case Jonny Gomes a – catches the ball for the second out of the inning, setting up what could have been a relatively quick inning.
 
Instead, Gomes slipped on the damp grass, misplaying the ball for an error with Lorenzo Cain scoring. Lester would face four more batters in the inning, giving up two more runs, both unearned.
 
Lester threw a whopping 41 pitches in the inning, facing eight batters.  He went seven innings in total, but threw just 60 pitches in the next six innings.  He needed just seven pitches in his 1-2-3 second inning.
 
Lester took the loss, falling to 10-7  with a 4.37 ERA. He went seven innings, giving up three runs, one earned, on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts. He threw 121 pitches, 76 for strikes.
 
“I thought he righted himself after  a long first inning and I thought he did an outstanding job for the seven innings of work,” manager John Farrell said. “We forced him to throw a number of extra pitches. But I thought, overall, he kept the game under control. In that first inning  things could have gotten a little bit worse. He was efficient thru the middle innings to give himself a chance to go seven. He gave us an opportunity to win.”
 
Instead, the Sox lost, falling 5-1 in the first of their four-game set with the Royals.
 
“I felt good,” Lester said. “Obviously, long first, a lot of pitches, but to be able to somehow grind away through it to get to seven, that’s big for our bullpen. Just some of the stuff I’ve talked about thru the season: you just got to find a way where when you have those outings, when the first  couple just aren’t going the way you want them to, you got to find a way to get thru six or seven or eight, keep your team in the ball game.”
 
Lester’s first inning went: Lead-off double by Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer groundout, walk to Billy Butler, Gordon's fly ball to left with the error by Gomes, a pop-out by Miguel Tejada, walk to Justin Maxwell, two-run single by MIke Moustakas, and strikeout by Brett Hayes.
 
Lester, though, said he did not make any significant adjustments after the first.
 
“Nothing really,” he said. “Stuff was the same. Just anytime you give up a lead-off double you got to bear down and try to make really good pitches. I did that to Hosmer. Butler comes up and obviously had a little bit of history with him, not going to just give in to him. Lay off some good pitches. Next one a fly ball. Stuff like that [the error] happens. But after that, I just got to do a better job of picking up Jonny right there. Not letting that inning get two more runs.”

Gomes said he was trying to line up the fly ball to make a throw to the plate if Cain tagged up.

"Perfect elevation to get behind it," he said. "Less than two outs, I got behind it but my plant leg just slipped and took a chunk out of the grass and I couldn't make up the ground."
 
Lester came into the game knowing he wanted to improve over his last outing, when he lasted a season-low 4 1/3 innings, giving up six runs on a season-high 11 hits to the Diamondbacks on Aug. 2 at Fenway Park.
 
“Last outing I was just up in the zone,” he said. “Stuff is the same. But any time you’re up that consistently with big league hitters you’re going to get hurt. That’s what happened against Arizona. But tonight got the ball back down in the zone, and that was probably the best curveball I’ve had in a long time, which is nice to be able to feel and nice to be able to see.
 
“Just build off this one," Lester said. "There’s some really good positives in there. And just go back out there in five days and try to do the same thing. Just not lose.”