Two strong starts, but nothing to show for it. That is what the start of the season has been for Red Sox ace Jon Lester.
Despite pitching into the eighth inning, he took the loss in the Red Sox' 4-0 defeat to the Brewers Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Brewers swept the weekend series and marked the first time the Red Sox were swept in a three-game home series since Sept. 7-9, 2012.
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Lester went 7 1/3 innings allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits with six strikeouts -- this after he allowed two runs in the season opener, also taking the loss. Between the second and seventh innings, Lester retired 17 straight Brewers, five by way of the strikeout.
“I thought he did another outstanding job for us pitching into the eighth inning and three runs on the board," manager John Farrell said. "They took advantage of an error in the outfield that led to the two runs in the second inning, but I thought he had a good complement of pitches going, a better curve ball than his last time out in Baltimore, but we came up short with the offensive production.”
Edward Mujica allowed an inherited runner to score in the eighth, before Andrew Miller threw a scoreless ninth.
Milwaukee got two runs in the second, one being unearned. Jonathan Lucroy doubled to open the inning, followed by a single from Khris Davis. Mark Reynolds then ripped one to right field, which Daniel Nava misplayed allowing Davis to score from first base, trailing Lucroy. They added insurance runs in the seventh on a RBI single from Jeff Bianchi and another in the eighth on a RBI single from Aramis Ramirez.
The Red Sox offense couldn't get anything going against Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo as the right-hander went 6 2/3 scoreless innings keeping the Sox off balance all afternoon. Gallardo has opened the year with 12 2/3 straight scoreless innings.
It was a frustrating afternoon at the plate as the Sox went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and are now 6-for-44 for the year.
“We’ve had a difficult time bunching some hits together," Farrell said. "We scattered the eight or nine hits that we got here today. We did create a couple of opportunities, but the ability to build an inning. They didn’t hurt themselves by issuing any base on balls and seemingly in a number of hitters counts we got into Gallardo made a good pitch with a sinker to put the ball on the ground. It was more about not being able to bunch any hits together."
The Red Sox will host the Rangers for three games beginning Monday night (7:10, NESN/ESPN) where John Lackey will be opposed by Tanner Scheppers.
What they'll be saying: The Red Sox have now lost three games at home to start the season for the first time since 1984 when they lost their first four home games. The team lost three straight games five different times in last year's World Series win, but never lost four straight at any point ... Lester pitched well enough to get the win, but like in Baltimore he didn't get any run support. In his two starts this year the team has combined for one run behind him.