Lester struggles again, Red Sox fall to Rays 8-3

Starting pitching has been the key to the Red Sox’ recent success and unfortunately for them they didn’t get a good outing from starter Jon Lester and thus fell to the Rays 8-3 Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.

Lester didn’t make it out of the fifth inning as he allowed seven runs on eight hits in just 4 2/3 innings of work. The most discouraging thing was his seven walks, never having any command all night. He also allowed three home runs and his ERA jumped to 4.12. The one encouraging thing was Jose De Le Torre, who was called up earlier in the day as the Sox needed an arm in the bullpen, as he went 3 1/3 innings and allowed just one run to give the bullpen a much needed night off.

With the game tied at two entering the bottom of the third the Rays scored six runs in their next three at-bats to blow the game open, including a three-run fifth inning chasing Lester from the game.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Jose Iglesias paced the Red Sox offensively in the loss each registering two hits in the eight-hit attack. Iglesias has now hit in 14 straight games. Dustin Pedroia had an RBI sacrifice fly and Mike Napoli had a two-RBI single to account for the Sox runs.

The teams will play the rubber game of their three-game series Wednesday night (7:10, NESN). Alfredo Aceves will make a spot start for the Sox and be opposed by Chris Archer.

What they’ll be saying: Many expected something to come about following John Lackey drilling Matt Joyce last night and Rays manager Joe Maddon’s comments on it after the game, but nothing ever came about … It was another disappointing outing for Lester who has not won a game since May 15. All seven of his runs allowed came with two outs, which has become an issue for the left-hander. Over those five starts he has an ERA of 6.90 and has struggled with his command. Something to monitor with Lester is his health, as something just isn’t right as he was so dominant to start the season.


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