Lester takes step back, Red Sox fall to Diamondbacks

BOSTON — As many thought Jon Lester was turning a corner, he took a few steps back in his start Friday night at Fenway Park.

Despite his poor outing the Red Sox fought back to tie the score at six, but a Cody Ross homer in the seventh inning did them in as they ultimately fell to the Diamondbacks, 7-6 in a back-and-forth game. The Rays also lost so the Red Sox maintain their full game lead in the AL East.

Lester went just 4 1/3 innings allowing six runs on 11 hits and struck out six. He did not have command of any of his pitches and the Diamondbacks made him pay by scoring twice in the first, once in the third and three times in the fifth to force him from the game.

“The ball was up in the zone, I misfired a lot of balls. It just wasn’t a good night,” Lester said. “It wasn’t good. Like I said, the fastball was up, the change up was up. The curve ball was better than its been in awhile tonight, just I wasn’t really able to get to it.”

Matt Thornton pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief before Pedro Beato came on for the seventh and allowed a lead-off homer to Ross giving the Diamondbacks back the lead. He allowed the lone run in 1 1/3 innings before Junichi Tazawa pitched the final 1 1/3 innings. Ross made an emphatic return to Boston going 4-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and 3 RBIs.

The Red Sox had some timely hits despite the loss. David Ortiz hit a two-run home run in the first and then back-to-back sacrifice flies from Stephen Drew and Brock Holt gave the Sox a 4-2 lead after two. Then, trailing 6-4 in the sixth, Drew smashed a two-run homer to tie the game at six before Ross’ homer made it all for not. The Sox did have the tying run in scoring position in the ninth, but couldn’t continue their magical ninth innings of the past two games.

The teams will continue their weekend series tomorrow night (7:10, NESN) where Jake Peavy will make his Red Sox debut and go up against Patrick Corbin.

What they’ll be saying: It’s really hard to figure Lester out with how inconsistent he’s been dating back to last season. The left-hander seemed to be coming around after three straight starts of allowing three runs or less, but the 4 1/3 inning outing was his shortest of the season and the 11 hits were the most he’s allowed in a game this year. Lester has not won three straight starts since Aug. 12-Aug. 24, 2012 … Drew has been swinging a hot bat of late as three of his eight homers have come in the past week. Since his two-homer game back on July 27 the shortstop is hitting .360 with nine RBIs in seven games.


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