BOSTON -- Balls aren't finding gloves for Jon Lester at the moment.
The lefty allowed four runs (only two earned) in six-plus innings on Tuesday night, and he didn't factor into the decision in Boston's 8-6 extra-innings loss to the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park.
Afterwards, Lester said he felt pretty good, allowing eight hits and striking out five while walking one in 99 pitches. And after all, he did leave the game in the seventh inning with a 4-3 lead.
But after left-hander Endy Chavez led off the seventh with a single, and all righties at the top of the Baltimore order due up, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine had his bullpen perfectly lined up to enter the game, with Lester having thrown nearly 100 pitches.
"Any time you come out of a game, it's tough," said Lester. "But our bullpen's been great. Just a little hiccup tonight. No big deal. Next time we're in that situation, they'll pick me up. That's the way baseball goes. Obviously I'm not worried about it."
Scott Atchison and Matt Albers came in and allowed three more runs to score. But Lester -- even still a game under .500 -- didn't seem too distraught. He knows his bullpen will be better the next time, and he felt good out there, personally.
An error to Mike Aviles in the third inning put runners on first and second with one out, and then a sacrifice fly put runners on first and third with two outs. The error proved to be costly because it gave the Orioles an extra out to work with, and they made Lester pay, as Adam Jones and Matt Wieters each singled to drive in two third-inning runs and put Baltimore up 2-0 early.
"I felt good," said Lester. "I feel like I threw the ball pretty well, with the exception of two balls, or really one: the triple in the first. And then, I don't really know how Wieters hit that ball in the third.
"The balls that aren't squared up for me aren't finding gloves right now. It's just part of baseball. You've just got to keep throwing, and hopefully it will turn around for me."
Valentine also thought Lester threw the ball well on Tuesday. It just didn't play out the way he had hoped.
"Jon battled too," said Valentine. "The first two runs, he thought he was out of the third inning I think with the ground ball. And they scored a couple, and then we tied it. And then he gave that one up in the sixth. And after he gave up a hit to Endy Chavez, I thought Lester had just had enough . . . Jon threw the ball pretty well."