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

Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz 'not demoralized'

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Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz 'not demoralized'

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 8-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies:

 

QUOTES

"Yeah. Dave (Dombrowski), and I and Carl (Willis), we always have conversations about every guy, so this will be no different. We know that Eddie (Rodriguez) is ready to come back to us, but there's been no decision made as of right now.'' - John Farrell, asked whether the team intends to assess Clay Buchholz's spot in the starting rotation.

"(I'm) not demoralized. The team's still winning. I'm basically the only one that's struggling. . . The other guys are doing a really good job of picking up the slack that I'm leaving behind.'' - Buchholz.

"That's out of my pay grade; I can't worry about that. I'm here to pitch. If I don't have a spot, that's part of it. As they say, if you don't like it, pitch better. That's what it comes down to.'' - Buchholz.

"It was a fun ride. I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed it. Most of all, the team played really well during it. I was blessed to be in this situation.'' - Jackie Bradley Jr. on the end of his 29-game winning streak.

"I'm very proud of myself. To be able to get the opportunity to go this far, it's a blessing. I wouldn't say I'm disappointed. Obviously, you want to get a hit, but it's tough getting a hit day-in, day-out. It was a pretty special run for me.'' - Bradley.

 

NOTES

* Jackie Bradley Jr's 29-game hitting streak came to an end. It's tied for the fourth-longest streak in franchise history.

* Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 19 games, now the longest such streak in the big leagues.

* Dustin Pedroia has reached base via a walk or a hit in each of his last 15 starts.

* In David Ortiz's last 15 games, he has 16 extra-base hits and 20 RBI.

* The Red Sox have scored 51 runs in the first inning over 47 games, an average of 1.09 per first inning.

* Ortiz (double, homer) passed Ty Cobb to move into 13th place on the all-time extra-base hit list.

* Ortiz set a personal record by knocking in multiple runs for the fourth straight game.

* The three homers allowed by Clay Buchholz were a season-high.

 

STARS

1) Jon Gray

Gray earned the first road win of his career by going 7 1/3 innings and blanking the Red Sox after the first inning.

2) Dustin Garneau

The Colorado catcher set a career best with six total bases, hitting a two-run homer in the fifth and a double in the ninth.

3) David Ortiz

Ortiz homered in the first inning to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead four batters into the game, then chipped in with a leadoff double in the fourth.