Lester can't answer Sox call for help

Lester can't answer Sox call for help
May 22, 2014, 9:00 pm
Share This Post

BOSTON - Red Sox fans who waited for the rain to subside and got to their Fenway Park seats in the third inning saw a very good Jon Lester on Thursday.

The ones who showed up on time saw a pretty bad Lester - and got wet to boot.

Lester gave up all seven - yes, seven - of his runs in the first two innings of the Red Sox' 7-2 series-finale loss to the Blue Jays. He proceeded to shut the Jays down into the 7th inning, giving up just three more hits before he was finally pulled at 106 pitches.

But that was too little, too late for Boston, who had counted on Lester to stop the bleeding after what has been a bad week for business.

As their ace, it's his job to come through. He couldn't answer the call, leaving him instead answering questions on how much disappointment had set in because of it.

"I kind of think that's stating the obvious," Lester said flatly.

Now, the Red Sox are losers of seven games in a row. They were swept at home in back-to-back three-game series, making it their first winless homestand of at least six games since 1994, the only other time it's happened.

"Ideally you're looking for that guy, in this case Jon, to shut down and stop a streak," John Farrell said. "That wasn't the case, and it's frustrating right now for a number of guys right now."

Blue Jays batters had greeted Sox pitchers with the longball all series, and you could say the same for their "long" farewell on Thursday. Melky Cabrera and Joey Bautista went back-to-back off Lester in the first inning to give them a 2-0 lead that they wouldn't look back from.

"Really the one to Melky wasn't terrible," Lester said, "but just coming back and being kind of stubborn there against Bautista there knowing they're going to be aggressive just wasn't the smartest pitch. But I can deal with solo homers. I got to do better in the second inning minimizing damage."

That's when things went from bad to worse. Lester allowed two singles to start the second inning, and a sacrifice bunt moved both up a base. Jose Reyes then lined a fastball to centerfield, scoring both runners.

Now up 4-1 on Boston, the Jays weren't done in the inning. Reyes stole second base before Cabrera walked, and Bautista struck again with a single that scored Reyes.

Then it was Edwin Encarnacion who singled in Cabrera, followed by Brett Lawrie who grounded into a fielder's choice - but avoided the double-play - which in turn scored Bautista from third base.

Did you get all that?

It took 30 pitches, but Lester finally got out of the inning, and the Red Sox' getaway game had turned into a "wanna get away?" game.

"Well it's not fun going out there giving up a bunch of hits, trying to stop a losing streak, trying to win, trying to just keep guys in the ballgame," said Lester, who had a season-low three strikeouts. "I mean, the list goes on and on of things that I flat out just didn't do today."

A.J. Pierzynski was behind the plate for Lester on Thursday, and gave credit to the Jays offense.

"I think he just missed some spots, and they're hot right now," Pierzynski said. "You miss spots against these guys and they're going to whack it. The thing that was frustrating I think for him was that he made some good pitches and they got hits. That's the way it goes sometimes. But after that second inning he really settled in and he got into the seventh, so that's a good thing. He saved everybody down in the bullpen and he shut them down, which was good."

Yes, Lester did save the bullpen, which counts for something. But the team was looking for something more.