Thursday, August 11, 2011

Red Sox Snap Four Game Streak with 5-2 Loss

AP/ Jim Mone

Twins 5 Red Sox 2
Winning Pitcher: Glen Perkins (4-2)
Losing Pitcher: Jon Lester (11-6)
Save: Joe Nathan (9)

Jon Lester didn't have his typical pinpoint command on Wednesday night, and the Red Sox offense couldn't muster enough runs to make up the difference. Lester's problems started in the first inning, when, after recording two quick outs, he gave up a walk and two singles, allowing a run to score. After the 24-pitch first inning, Lester settled down until the sixth, when the scoring continued. After Ben Revere reached on a walk, Joe Mauer hit a ball down the left field line, and a fan interfered with the ball, resulting in a ground rule double. Because of the fan interference, the ump has the task of deciding where Revere would have ended up had the ball stayed in play. After deliberation, Revere was awarded home plate, and the Twins held a 2-0 advantage. Red Sox fans on Twitter deemed the call a mistake, but on the replay the call looked justifiable to me. The Red Sox were able to tie the game in the next two innings, but Lester came back out for the eighth and the Twins got the lead right back after an RBI double from Jim Thome. Lester was pulled after that, going 7.1, allowing four runs on eight hits, five walks and four strike outs. This was the second time this year Lester has walked five batters, and the first since May 10th. It was also the first time he has walked more batters than he struck out since opening day, when he walked one and didn't record a strike out. While some may point to a lack of run support once again screwing him over, Lester's lack of command could have made this start a lot worse.
The Red Sox offense struggled against Minnesota starter Nick Blackburn, meanwhile. His stuff was overly great, with his fastball topping out at 93, and typically sitting at 89-90. However, in probably his best start since mid-July, Blackburn shut down the Sox for 6.2, allowing just one unearned run on six hits, two walks and four strikeouts. David Ortiz, who tied the game at two in the top of the eighth with a blast into the bullpen in left-center, and Mike Aviles were the only two Red Sox batters with multiple hits in the game. In both the third and the fourth, the Red Sox had some real opportunities, getting men in scoring position with less than two outs. However, Blackburn shut them down in both instances, and Boston could only muster two runs on the day.

Quick Hits:
  • Last night's save made Joe Nathan the team's all time saves leader. It was career save number 255 for Nathan, a tremendous achievement for the former middle reliever. 
  • After hitting only three home runs in all of July, David Ortiz now has three home runs in the first 10 August. He also has 9 RBI in the month.
  • Alfredo Aceves came on in relief for Lester in the eighth, and let the inherited runner score. He has now let the most inherited runners to cross the plate on the team, allowing eight of eighteen to score.

The Red Sox travel to play the Mariners on Friday at 10:10 PM ET. Boston will send John Lackey (10-8 6.14) to the mound against Seattle's Blake Beavan (3-2 2.83).    

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