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It’s probably a safe bet that Jon Lester isn’t singing Sweet Home Chicago whenever the Red Sox southpaw gets set to toe the mound against the White Sox.
In nine career starts against the Chicago South Siders, Lester is 4-5 with a 5.43 ERA.
Last night at U.S. Cellular Field Lester didn’t stray far from the script, surrendering five runs in the first two innings to spot Chicago a lead they would not relinquish.
In the first inning, after issuing a single to Alex Rios and a free pass to Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn crushed a Lester fastball to right for an early 3-0 lead.
“I ended up leaving up a cutter over the middle to a guy that’s got stupid pop, and he did what he’s supposed to do with it,” said Lester.
In the second inning, Lester got into another jam, giving up three straight doubles to Tyler Greene, Alejandro De Aza and Alexei Ramirez, respectively, to allow Chicago to tack another two runs.
Lester settled down after that, giving up only two more hits the rest of the way.
“I’ll give them the second inning, said Lester. “Subtract the first, that’s the one it comes back to. That’s the most frustrating. I didn’t execute pitches in the first inning and that changed the whole momentum of the game.”
In the fifth inning a Will Middlebrooks error allowed Ramirez to reach base and eventually score on a Dayan Viciedo single. All of the runs came with two out.
The 6-4 loss snapped a five-game win streak for the Red Sox and handed Lester — who allowed seven hits and struck out two while walking three — his first black mark in the loss column this season.
“It was bound to end sometime. It is what it is,” said Lester, now 6-1 with a 3.15 ERA. “Felix (Doubront) will pick me up tomorrow, throw better than I did tonight and give us a chance to win the game and hopefully start a new streak.”
Lester was at a loss to explain why Chicago seems to continually tax his pitch zone whenever he faces them.
“It’s just one of those teams. You have those teams that have good offences and you do really well against them for whatever reason and then you have teams that, Chicago, for some reason I don’t think I’ve ever pitched well here.”
The loss also ended Lester’s bid to become the first Red Sox lefty to start a season 7-0 since Roger Moret accomplished the feat in 1973. That year, Moret took an 11-0 record into September before suffering his first loss against the Indians. He finished the campaign 13-2 with a 3.17 ERA.
The Sox had two golden opportunities to tie the game or grab the lead in the late innings when Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Middlebrooks launched deep drives, but the Windy City lived up to its name and stopped the balls a few feet short of the fence both times.
Twitter: jan_doh Jan-Christian Sorensen 5/21/2013 04:28:00 PM Tweet