Strong outing by Lester goes wasted

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Strong outing by Lester goes wasted

OAKLAND -- Jon Lester has frequently complained that his results this season haven't matched his pitching.

Tuesday night, that was certainly the case.

Lester limited the Oakland A's to a single run on four hits in 6 23 innings, but walked away with a no-decision when the Sox blew a 2-1 lead in the ninth for a frustrating 3-2 loss to the A's.

"I feel good," said Lester. "I don't feel like I threw the ball any different than I did the last couple of starts. But when I needed to make pitches, I did."

Lester allowed a solo homer to Coco Crisp in the first and a walk to Jemile Weeks, then retired 14 of the next 15 hitters he faced. After the first inning, he allowed just two baserunners -- both on singles.

"I just was able to execute pitches," said Lester. "That's what it always ends up coming down to in the end."

Lester threw 31 pitches in the first inning, but became far more efficient the rest of the way, needing just 76 for the final 5 23 innings.

"I think I just got in a better rhythm," said Lester. "The first inning, I struggled a little bit, locating. I think going into the stretch helped me a little bit. I wasn't trying to rush too much and made sure I stayed back over the rubber. After that, it was just (about) trying to get outs. I wasn't really worried about pitch counts or anything -- just get outs as quick as we could and try to get as deep into the game as we could."

Lester didn't get much in the way of run support.

"I'm not worried about runs," he said. "The main thing is, we lost. We played our butts off; it just didn't happen for us tonight You've got to tip your hat to those guys. They had a good plan in the ninth and executed it and scored those two runs. Obviously, that's the difference in the game.

"It was one of those nights where they had the momentum going into the ninth and we didn't. It is what it is."

Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

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Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.

The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Infielder Marco Hernandez may make the Red Sox roster after all.

Fellow infielder Josh Rutledge, the presumptive 25th man on the Red Sox, suffered a left hamstring strain on Tuesday against the Pirates, according to reporters in Florida, including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.

If Rutledge isn’t ready for opening day, Hernandez, a left-handed hitter, may have his crack. 

The question is whether the Sox would be comfortable without a right-handed bat to complement both Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland on the corners. Rutledge was going to give the Sox that right-handed look they sought. (When Hanley Ramirez's shoulder will be healthy enough to play first base is unclear, but isn't expected to be too long.)

Neither Rutledge nor Hernandez has played first base in the majors or minors.

A big-league rookie last year, Hernandez has done decently against lefties at the upper levels of the minors, hitting .328 vs. them at Triple-A Pawtucket last season in 67 at-bats. He hit .315 in 54 at-bats at Pawtucket, with a .318 average against them that season in 88 at-bats for Double-A Portland.

Rutledge is a Rule 5 draft pick who has to remain on the major league 25-man roster the whole season or the Sox risk losing him. Placement on the disabled list doesn’t affect his status unless he’s on the disabled list for a very lengthy time.

An alternative option is Steve Selsky, who has first-base experience, but he's already been optioned.