BOSTON Jon Lester went seven solid outings against the Nationals Sunday, giving up three runs on six hits with two walks and a season-high nine strikeouts.
It was his seventh quality start in 13 outings this season. But it was also his third straight no-decision.
Lester left with the Red Sox trailing by a run, in the eventual 4-3 loss. He entered the seventh with a 2-1 lead.But, he gave up consecutive singles to Ian Desmond and Tyler Moore to open the inning before striking out Jesus Flores and getting Roger Bernadina to line out to pop out to Adrian Gonzalez on an attempted sacrifice bunt.
But, Lester gave up a two-out, 2-1 double off the wall in left fieldto Danny Espinosa, the Nats leadoff hitter, putting the Nats up by a run.
The Sox tied the score in the bottom of the inning, taking Lester off the hook.
Another battling effort, manager Bobby Valentine said. One pitch away from coming in after seven with a 2-1 lead. Just a hit off the wall. Had his strikeout pitches going, fastball, changeup.
Jon looked good, said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. His fastball was good, cutter was good. Its a fastball-hitting team so mixed in a lot of curveballs in there that kept them off balance, and just he pitched a great game.
But, he has no-decisions in each of his last three starts, as his record is stalled at 3-4 with a 4.57 ERA.In seven starts after a Red Sox loss, Lester has a record of 1-3 with three no decisions.
"It seems like it's just Groundhog Day every day, every start for me. I can't seem to get a break," Lester said. "I feel like I threw the ball good today. A fly ball to left, a 300-foot fly ball -- different ballgame.
"It's just, today, a 300-foot fly ball is the difference in the game. It's bad luck in some games. It's playing bad in other games. It's pitching bad. It's not playing good defense. Whatever it is, it seems to come back and bite us."