For the third straight start a Red Sox starter dug the team a big hole with a poor outing and for the second time the team couldn't dig out of it as Jon Lester pitched his worst game of the season taking the loss in the Yankees 9-3 win over the Red Sox Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
Lester wasn't helped out by his defense as only three of the eight runs the Yankees scored off him were earned. The left-hander allowed two runs in the first, two in the third and four in the fifth, forcing him from the game after just 4 2/3 innings. Overall he allowed eight runs (three earned) on 11 hits while walking four and striking out seven. He could have gotten out of the fifth inning without allowing any runs if it weren't for a Mike Napoli error on a Brian Roberts line drive.
"They put some good swings on him and then when they mishit some balls they found some holes. We didn't help out defensively, particularly in that fifth inning. Once again we're digging ourselves a hole early in the game and need to play catch up. That's taking quite a bit of energy."
Jacoby Ellsbury made a triumphant return to Fenway going 2-for-5 with a double, triple and two runs scored, while Brian McCann reached base four times in the win.
The Red Sox rallied in the fourth inning against Yankees starter Mashahiro Tanaka with back-to-back monster home runs from David Ortiz and Napoli, cutting the deficit to 4-2 at the time. Napoli had two hits to lead the Red Sox in the loss as the team finished with nine overall. Tanaka shut the Red Sox down tossing 7 1/3 innings allowing two runs on seven hits, while striking out seven and not walking a batter. The Sox scored a run in the ninth on an RBI double from Xander Bogaerts.
Chris Capuano again gave the Red Sox a terrific relief appearance throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Lester. Edward Mujica allowed a Carlos Beltran solo homer in the eighth and Junichi Tazawa threw a scoreless ninth.
The two teams will be back at it tomorrow night (7:10, NESN) as John Lackey will get the ball for the Sox and be opposed by Michael Pineda.
What they'll be saying: Even though Lester wasn't helped out much by the defense, it was still a poor outing by the Red Sox starter. It was the fourth time he's allowed 11 or more hits in his career and by allowing the two runs in the first inning it snapped a streak of 13 consecutive regular season starts not allowing a run in the first inning ... One of the few players not in a slump offensively is Napoli as he's reached base in a career-high 17 straight games, which is the longest by a Red Sox player since Ortiz last August ... There is no denying the team is off to a bad start, but much of that has to do with the incontinuity of their lineup day in and day out. Once they get back to full strength they should be fine.