ANAHEIM -- Zach Stewart knew even before he took the mound Wednesday night that, thanks to some roster considerations, his stay with the Red Sox would be brief.
What he couldn't have known is how brief his outing was going to be, too.
Stewart lasted just three innings and was shelled for nine runs on 10 hits, becoming the first Red Sox pitcher in a century to allow nine runs in his debut.
"I was too inconsistent," confessed Stewart after the Sox were drubbed by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 10-3, "and those guys are too good to leave those many balls over the plate. I felt like I was making some good pitches and then, I'd turn around and leave the ball over the ball over the heart of the plate or leave a slider up or something like that."
"He didn't locate today," said catcher Ryan Lavarnway who had caught Stewart at Triple A, "the way that he had when I had him at Pawtucket. He threw two-strike curveballs that didn't bounce and to the Angels' credit, they didn't miss him. I've seen him pitch better than that. I know he's got it in him."
"He got too many pitches up," said Bobby Valentine. "He has to pitch down in the zone to be effective and he just wasn't able to do that tonight. It's tough to come up and make a start against this team and have things go back from the first hitter."
Indeed, it got ugly for Stewart in a hurry. After allowing two singles, a double and a homer to the first four hitters he faced, he found himself trailing 4-0.
"Basically, you're trying to stop the bleeding," he said reflecting back on the first. "You just keep competing."
After the first, he allowed another run in the second before the Angels began bashing him again in the third with four more extra-base hits and four runs.
Valentine was asked if he thought about taking Stewart out earlier rather than embarrass him.
"He had two outs in the third inning (before the Angels added on)," reasoned Valentine. "I was trying to get him through the third inning. I was deathly afraid of using the entire bullpen tonight."
"I try not to look at that," Stewart said of being pulled. "I feel like it's my game at that point and whenever they make that decision, that's up to them."
Stewart was optioned back to Pawtucket immediately after the game -- as was the plan all along -- and now he'll have to sit and consider how it all went so wrong, so quickly for him in his Red Sox debut.
If there's a positive, Lavarnway said Stewart didn't quit or feel sorry for himself.
"He took it like a pro," said the catcher. "He never backed down. I never saw his shoulders bow down. That wasn't easy for him, I'm sure, but he handled it like a pro."
Still, it was tough.
"It's always difficult," acknowledged Stewart. "You never want to have a start like that, but it's one of those things that all you can do is turn the page and go from there. You have to flush these and just go on to the next one. You can't just keep carrying them around and thinking about them.
"I'm going to take it and learn from it and take the mistakes I made and try not to make them anymore."