BOSTON Jon Lester struggled early, giving up three runs over the first three innings to the Tigers, but he settled down to retire 10 of the next 12 batters he faced.The Red Sox offense also rebounded after being retired in order the first time through, to beat the Tigers, 6-4, for the third straight game.Lester went 6 23 innings, giving up four runs on 10 hits with no walks, seven strikeouts, and a wild pitch. He threw 120 pitches, 83 for strikes. It was his second outing this season without giving up a walk, along with a complete-game win against the Mariners on May 14.The Sox gave Lester four runs in the fourth. With two outs, Adrian Gonzalez hit a ground-rule double into the Sox bullpen in center, David Ortiz hit his 12th home run of the season into the seats in straightaway center, Kevin Youkilis singled, and Will Middlebrooks hit his sixth home run of the season, giving the Sox a 4-3 edge.With Marlon Byrds single after Middlebrooks home run, the Sox had five straight hits in the inning, one short of their season high for an inning, when they had six straight in the eighth inning against the Rays on April 13.But Lester was not involved in the decision. Leading 4-3, he left with two outs and a runner on second base in the seventh. Matt Albers, who came in to relieve, gave up a single to Andy Dirks. Miguel Cabrera, the next batter, sliced a pop down the right field line. Gonzalez, playing right, charged in to field the ball. But as he dove and tumbled the ball fell from his glove as the tying run scored, charged to Lester.Gonzalez made up for the in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Octavio Dotel in to relive Smyly, Daniel Nava walked and Mike Aviles singled. Gonzalezs second ground-rule double of the game scored Nava, putting the Sox ahead by a run.In the eighth, Kevin Youkilis led off with home run off the Sports Authority sign about the Monster in left field. It was Youkilis fourth home run of the season.Except for the Youkilis home run, the Sox scored all their runs in the game with two out.Albers got the win, pitching one-third of an inning, giving up two hits and a walk. His record is now 1-0 with a 2.11 ERA. Dotel took the loss for the Tigers. Alfredo Aceves recorded his 13th save of the season.
Three things we learned from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays
BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay Rays:
"Part of that job is, when you miss, you have to miss to the extreme.'' - John Farrell on the role of eighth-inning reliever Clay Buchholz, who mislocated a fastball to Evan Longoria.
"We're putting ourselves in position to close games out and yet we've found ourselves a pitch or two from finishing the job.'' - Farrell on the team's bullpen woes.
"Fastball. I was trying to throw it up-and-away, and I pulled it, more inner-third. That's a spot where he hits the ball a long way.'' - Clay Buchholz on the game-winning homer by Longoria.
* The Rays and Sox have played 21 one-run games in the lasr four seasons and four in the last week.
* David Ortiz's sacrifice fly in the sixth was his 26th go-ahead RBI, fourth-best in the A.L.
* Xander Bogaerts collected his 500th career hit, and became the fifth Red Sox player to reach that milestone before turning 24.
* Brock Holt's double in the fifth lifted his average to .337 with two outs.
* Hanley Ramirez's home run was his first against Tampa Bay since May 21, 2011 when he was with the Marlins.
* Ramirez has 19 extra-base hits in the last 27 home games.
* Dustin Pedroia was 1-for-3 and and is now 15-for-his-last-19 at Fenway.
* The Sox dropped to 7-37 when they score three runs or fewer.
* Brad Ziegler was unavailable, suffering from the flu.
1) Evan Longoria
It wouldn't be a Rays win over the Red Sox without the third baseman doing some damage. Sure enough, he smoked a tape-measure shot over everything in left in the eighth to provide the winning margin for the visitors.
2) Luke Maile
Drew Pomeranz struck him out twice, but Maile more than got revenge in the seventh with a two-run homer into the Monster Seats to tie the game.
3) Hanley Ramirez
The first baseman had a three-hit night, including a solo homer and a run-scoring single, accounting for two of the three Red Sox runs.
BOSTON - First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay:
* There's a steep learning curve for a set-up man, as Clay Buchholz discovered.
Although he's pitched out of the bullpen for the last couple of months, most of those appearances weren't of the high leverage variety. More often than not, the Sox had a sizeable lead, or Buchholz was brought in earlier in the game. Or they were behind and he was mopping up.
But Tuesday was different. The Rays had battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh, and after Matt Barnes got the final out in that inning, Buchholz came in to start the eighth.
After getting Kevin Kiermaier on a groundout to lead off the inning, Buchholz threw a four-seamer to Evan Longoria that the Tampa Bay third baseman launched toward the Charles River, clearing everything and putting the Rays up by a run.
It was a reminder that in late innings of close games, one pitch, with missed location, can really hurt.
* Hanley Ramirez knocked in two runs. He was sort of lucky.
In the fifth inning, Ramirez hit a twisting opposite-field fly ball down the right field line. It landed just past the Pesky Pole in right, measured at 307 feet, the shortest homer in baseball this season, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
Then, an inning later, Ramirez hit a pop fly that drifted into shallow right. Three Rays defenders converged -- first baseman, second baseman and right fielder -- and somehow the ball dropped in between all three for a run-scoring single.
Two cheap hits, two RBI.
At times, you'll see hitters mash the ball, only to have it hit right at someone for an out. Rotten luck, and all.
Tuesday night, Ramirez got to experience the flip side of that.
* Drew Pomeranz had an excellent outing -- until his final pitch of the night.
Through 6 2/3 innings, Pomeranz had allowed a single run on four hits while walking two and striking out eight.
He had retired 10 of the previous 11 hitters he had faced, and while he was approaching his 100th pitch, showed no evidence of tiring.
Then, Pomernaz hung a curveball to No. 9 hitter Luke Maile -- with two strikes, no less -- and Maile hit into the Monster Seats for a game-tying, two-run homer.
It was the first homer on a curveball allowed by Pomeranz in 153 innings this season, and all of a sudden, the outing wasn't so special.