Notes: Lester struggles; Gonzalez homers twice

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Notes: Lester struggles; Gonzalez homers twice

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

TORONTO --- Jon Lester was long gone by the time Tuesday's extra-inning game was decided in favor of the Toronto Blue Jays. Still, he blamed himself for the Red Sox' 7-6, 10-inning loss.

Lester lasted just 5 13 innings, giving up five runs on seven hits. Command -- or lack thereof -- was an issue right from the start with three walks in the first inning, including one with the bases loaded to force in a run.

"All in all, it wasn't very good,'' concluded Lester. "The bullpen needed a break and I didn't do a very good job getting deep in the game.''

Lester was unhappy with some of the balls-and-strikes calls by home plate umpire Paul Emmel, but took responsibility for what unfolded.

"The interpretation is the guy behind the plate,'' said Lester, "and I have to do a better job controlling my emotions and not worrying about that and worrying about the next pitch. I didn't do a very good job with that and I let it get to me. Because of that, the inning went longer than it should.''

Lester walked a season-high five and allowed two homers, the first time he'd allowed multiple homers in a game since Opening Day.

"Today I just didn't have it,'' he said. "I didn't have good command of, really, anything. There was no pitch that I could go to that got me back in the count or got me to pitch to contact. You have these starts and I have to do a better job minimizing the damage and I didn't do that tonight.''

The Red Sox couldn't find a way to win, but that was hardly the fault of Adrian Gonzalez.

In the fifth, his opposite-field two-run homer put the Red Sox ahead for the first time, 4-3. Then, in the ninth, with the Sox trailing by a run, Gonzalez hit another one -- this one solo -- to tie the game at 6-6 and force extra innings.

After going 23 games without a homer, Gonzalez has now hit five homers in the last eight games.

"We're seeing what everyone has been talking about,'' said Terry Francona. "He leverages the ball to left field and looks like a right-hand hitter. It's unbelievable how that ball backspins. It's going to be fun to watch.''

For his part, Gonzalez was unimpressed with his individual display of power.

"I could care less -- Id rather go 0-for-5 and win,'' he said. "So it doesnt matter what I do if we lost. Its not about me.''

Saying the Red Sox wanted "to kill a bunch of birds with one stone,'' Terry Francona announced a rearranged rotation for the weekend series with the Yankees in New York.

The Sox will pitch Clay Buchholz Friday, Josh Beckett Saturday and Lester Sunday.

That means Daisuke Matsuzaka, who would have been scheduled to pitch Saturday, will be skipped and pushed back to Monday, giving him two extra days rest.

"We're giving Daisuke an extra couple of days,'' said Francona, "because we're trying to spread out a couple of guys and also line it up for how it seems to make sense.''

Among the factors that went into the decision:

-- The current setup matches the Red Sox' three best starters against the Yankees for the weekend series. In particular, Lackey (7.16) has been inconsistent, having given up six or more runs in half of his six starts to date and now won't have to face the Yanks.

"It sets us for the week the way we want it to be,'' said Francona.

-- Matsuzaka gets some extra rest two weeks after one of his starts was cut short because of fears that he had an elbow injury.

Matsuzaka later checked out fine through testing, but at the very least, the Sox were alarmed by the mysterious drop in velocity in that start.

He made his first major league relief appearance in the team's marathon 13-inning loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and had his start pushed back two days in response to that relief outing.

-- Finally, separating Matsuzaka and Beckett in the rotation makes it easier for catcher Jason Varitek, who regularly catches both pitchers. At 39, Varitek sometimes struggles to catch back-to-back games.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

The Cardinals broke open a close game with four runs in the last two innings against Red Sox relief prospect Chandler Shepherd and went on to a 7-2 exhibition victory over Boston yesterday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Cardinals box score

The loss dropped the Sox to 1-3 for the exhibition season.

Boston had jumped on top, 1-0, on an RBI single by Mitch Moreland in the bottom of the first, but St. Louis countered with two runs in the second and one in the third, all against starter Brian Johnson. It remained 3-1 until the Cards touched Shepherd for two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth. The Red Sox added their final run in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Jordan Procyshen, who spent last season at Single-A Salem, hit a sacrifice fly.

Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and Chris Young each had two hits for the Red Sox. who also got scoreless relief from Teddy Stankiewicz, Noe Ramirez, Robby Scott, Kyle Martin and Brandon Workman. It was Bogaerts' last game before leaving to compete for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

The Sox host the Yankees on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."