BOSTON -- The Red Sox turned to Jon Lester Sunday afternoon to salvage a game from their three-game set with the Nationals at Fenway Park.
Although Lester pitched well giving up three runs on six hits and two walks (one intentional) with nine strikeouts in seven innings he was not involved in the decision. The Nationals beat the Sox, 4-3, completing the three-game sweep.
Alfredo Aceves took the loss, dropping his record to 0-4.
With the score tied and one out in the ninth, Aceves walked Bryce Harper, pinch-hitting for Tyler Moore, on five pitches. Aceves then struck out Jesus Flores. But with two outs, Aceves gave up a run-scoring double to right field to Nats No. 9 hitter Roger Bernadina.
The Nationals got on the scoreboard first, with a run in the first inning. Danny Espinosa led off with double to center field, took third on Xavier Nadys fly out to Ryan Sweeney in right, and scored on Ryan Zimmermans grounder to Will Middlebrooks at third base.
The Sox tied the score in the third when Nick Punto led off with a walk, taking third on Scott Podsedniks one-out single to right, and scoring on Dustin Pedroias fielders choice.
David Ortiz gave the Sox the lead in the next inning when he led off with his 14th home run of the season, into the Nationals bullpen in right field.
But the Nats regained the lead in the seventh. Ian Desmond and Tyler Moore opened the inning with consecutive singles. But with two outs, Lester gave up a double off the wall in left to Espinosa, scoring both runners.
In the bottom of the frame, the Sox again tied the score. Sweeney and Punto led off with back-to-back singles, and Darnell McDonalds sacrifice bunt moved both runners over. Podsedniks ground out to short scored Sweeney.
Both Lester and Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann would be done after the seventh, neither involved in the decision. Lester has three no-decisions in his last three starts.
Scott Atchison pitched a perfect eighth inning, with one strikeout.
Tyler Clippard earned his eighth save with a scoreless ninth.
Manager Bobby Valentine was ejected by homeplate umpire Al Porter in the ninth inning, with Dustin Pedroia at bat, for arguing balls and strikes.