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Battered: Lester shelled, Sox swept

Jon Lester Shelled, Sox Swept


In the worst start of his major league career, Jon Lester was shelled for four home runs, a career-high 11 runs and 10 hits in just four-plus innings as the Jays routed the Red Sox, 15-7, completing a three-game sweep and send Boston reeling into a six-game road trip through Texas and New York. The sweep dropped the Red Sox (48-48) into the AL East cellar all alone, a half-game behind Toronto.

Jon Lester Shelled, Sox Swept

The Jays wasted no time in making life miserable for Lester as Brett Lawrie rocketed the first pitch of the game – a 93 MPH fastball down the middle – over the Green Monster for a leadoff home run. The Jays kept up the assault with a walk and a single. Edwin Encarnacion and J.P. Arencibia doubled and Jeff Mathis executed a safety squeeze as the Jays built their lead to 5-0. Lester allowed four hits, walked one and threw a wild pitch on strike three as the Jays batted around. 

Jon Lester Shelled, Sox Swept

The Red Sox got right back into the game in the bottom of the inning as Adrian Gonzalez crushed a three-run homer 10 rows deep into the grandstands behind the Red Sox bullpen. 

Jon Lester Shelled, Sox Swept

But Lester (5-8) walked Lawrie to open the second, a trend that continued all day as the leadoff man reached against Lester in all five innings he was on the mound. The Jays got the runs back and some as J.P. Arencibia blasted a three-run homer to left-center. Rajai Davis followed by crushing another Lester fastball over the Green Monster to put the Jays up, 9-3. 

Jon Lester Shelled, Sox Swept

Lester worked out of trouble in the third and fourth, as he induced inning-ending doubleplay grounders each time to get out of jams. But Lester was finally relieved of his duties on the worst day of his career when Travis Snider smoked his first homer of the season – a two-run laser – to the tarp in center. Lester was done after four innings, allowing 11 runs – all earned – on 10 hits, five walks and just two strikeouts. Lester watched as his ERA ballooned from 4.80 to 5.46. The Red Sox fell to 13-23 in the 36 starts by Josh Beckett and Lester this year. 

Jon Lester Shelled, Sox Swept

It was the first time since Tim Wakefield on May 4, 1996 that a Red Sox starter allowed 11 runs in a game, with 10 of those runs that day unearned. 

Jon Lester Shelled, Sox Swept

Instead of pulling Lester early, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine decided to save the bullpen as much as possible, with Junichi Tazawa warming up three times before he finally came in after Snider’s homer in the fifth. Tazawa was stellar again, allowing no runs and striking out five over three scoreless innings before Mark Melancon came in to start the eighth. 

Jon Lester Shelled, Sox Swept

Valentine’s decision came under even more scrutiny as the Red Sox drew closer again Toronto righty Henderson Alvarez, who staked to an 11-4 lead, couldn’t last through six innings. Alvarez (6-7) allowed eight hits and seven runs in 5 1/3 innings and was pulled in the sixth as the Red Sox drew to within four, 11-7, on doubles by Ryan Sweeney and Mike Aviles and a line drive single off the Monster by Nick Punto. 

But Melancon gave up four runs on five hits in the eighth, as the Jays put the game out of reach.

Jacoby Ellsbury hit his first homer of the season in the fifth for the Sox, who head to Texas for a three-game series with the two-time defending AL champion Rangers starting Monday before heading cross-country to take on the Yankees for three in New York next weekend. For complete coverage from the team of Rob Bradford and Mike Petraglia, visit the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox and the Full Count blog.

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Battered: Lester shelled, Sox swept
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