Lester gem once again ends in defeat

Lester gem once again ends in defeat
April 11, 2012, 8:59 pm
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TORONTO -- Jon Lester has pitched 15 innings this season and has allowed just one run, but finds himself with an 0-1 record and a no-decision.

That tough-luck mark is attributable to two things: Lester has drawn two of the American League's best pitchers (Justin Verlander and Ricky Romero) as opposing starters; and the fact that his teammates have given him virtually no run support.

On Opening Day, Lester battled Verlander nearly pitch-for-pitch, but the Sox were blanked until the ninth, by which time Lester was out of the game.

It was only marginally better Wednesday in the Red Sox' road trip finale. Lester allowed two runs in the third and another in the eighth, but got just a single run of backing from the Boston lineup.

"Jon was fnatastic,'' said Bobby Valentine. "Other than the last inning, there was only one inning (Toronto) got hits in.

"That's the nature of the beast when you go up against guys like (Verlander and Romero),'' said Lester. "I got outpitched again. That's plain and simple.''

For the first time this season, the Red Sox scored before their opponents on Wednesday, nicking Romero for a run on three singles in the top of the third.

But the Jays countered quickly with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Rajai Davis tripled home Eric Thames and Yunel Escboar followed with a sacrifice fly.

"A couple of balls that I left up, they hit,'' recounted Lester, "and they ended up scoring some runs. You can't do that against guys like Romero and Verlander. It just makes it too
hard on our offense to give (the opponent) a lead and have our guys try to fight from behind.''

Both starters settled in after that, with Lester retiring the next 15 hitters in a row. When he buckled in the eighth on a two-out walk, a botched pickoff throw and a run-scoring
single from Escobar, the Jays had themselves an insurance run that they wouldn't even need.

"We're not playing well right now,'' concluded Lester. "The games we pitch well, we don't hit. And the games we don't pitch well, we hit. We haven't put it together right now.''