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The Red Sox returned home from a wildly successful road trip on Monday in first place in the AL East. They had their ace on the hill in Jon Lester, and they were facing a White Sox team that has struggled all season. All seemed well.
Earlier in the day, though, the Yankees beat the A’s 5-0 behind a complete game shutout from Bartolo Colon, so the Red Sox needed a win to keep pace. They didn’t get it.
Instead, they saw their top starting pitcher struggle on the mound. Lester allowed seven runs on eight hits and four walks in 5.2 innings, taking his second loss of the year in a 7-3 White Sox win.
Lester tossed 127 pitches (the second highest total of his career), and relied a great deal on his cutter (he threw it 43 times, according to MLB.com). As a result, Terry Francona said after the game that Lester will get seven days of rest and will not start again until June 7.
A.J. Pierzynski touched Lester for a two-run single in the first inning, and Paul Konerko added a solo shot in the third, but the White Sox did most of their damage in the sixth. Alexi Ramirez hit a two-run double to chase Lester, and Carlos Quentin added a two-run single to cap the scoring.
Adrian Gonzalez hit a solo HR in the first inning for the Red Sox, and Dustin Pedroia added a two-run single in the third, but clearly that was not enough.
Gonzalez slugged his 10th home run of the season in his 2-4 effort.
Lester has not been unhittable lately, but he’s had a good season overall. Monday night, however, he was pretty bad. Perhaps the seven days off will help him.
W: Jake Peavy (2-0)
L: Jon Lester (7-2)