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Lester, Bard Roughed Up As Rangers Beat Red Sox

Daniel Bard (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Once the clock struck midnight Friday morning, April was upon us. In the past, April has not been a kind month for Opening Day starter Jon Lester (16 starts, 3-5, 4.58 ERA in his career), but the big lefty was looking to buck that trend Friday afternoon against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas.

Lester blew two 2-run leads and allowed five runs (all on 3 HRs) in just 5.1 innings, and the Red Sox eventually lost 9-5. Old friend David Murphy broke a 5-5 tie in the eighth with a double down the left field line as the defending AL Champs scored four runs in the inning.

Things started great for the Red Sox. Jacoby Ellsbury reached on an error on a fly ball to right-center field to start the game, and eventually scored on a Kevin Youkilis double. Adrian Gonzalez followed with an RBI single to right, and the Sox were up 2-0.

Lester then gave up a home run to Ian Kinsler on his second pitch of the game, and later surrendered a home run to Nelson Cruz in the second inning.

The Sox touched up CJ Wilson again, scoring two runs on a bases-loaded single by Gonzalez for a 4-2 lead. Gonzalez finished 2-4 on the day with three RBI. Fellow-newcomer Carl Crawford did not fare as well, going 0-4 with three strikeouts.

In the fourth, Mike Napoli slugged a three-run shot inside the left field foul pole to give Texas a 5-4 lead, which they held until the eighth inning. Facing lefty Darren Oliver, David Ortiz hit a solo HR to center field to tie it 5-5.

With the game tied, Terry Francona made the call for the always-reliable Daniel Bard…who stunk up the joint. Murphy slapped a two-run double that hit the chalk down the left field line to break the 5-5 tie, and RBI doubles by Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton gave the Rangers a 9-5 lead. As bad as Lester was, Bard was that much worse.

Sox Stud of the Game: Adrian Gonzalez

Gonzalez went 2-2 with three RBI in his first two plate appearances in a Sox uniform. To top off his day, he even stole second base for the first time since 2009.

Sox Dud of the Game: Daniel Bard

Bard allowed four hits and a walk in the eighth while just recording two outs. He was charged with four runs. Last year, he did not have an appearance in which he allowed more than two runs. It can only get better, right?

Game Notes:

W: Darren Oliver (1-0)
L: Daniel Bard (0-1)

  • Friday’s game marked the third straight year the Red Sox have opened against the defending AL champs (Rays in ’09, Yankees in ’10, Rangers in ’11). The Sox were the defending champs the previous year in 2007.
  • Jon Lester finished with zero strikeouts for just the second time in his career. He had never, ever allowed three home runs in a game before Friday’s start.
  • Gonzalez made his major league debut with the Rangers in 2004.
  • There were 50,146 people in attendance including President George W. Bush and his wife, former First Lady Laura Bush.

About KC Downey - @kc_downey

KC is the "head coach" of the Sports of Boston, LLC blog network. Follow him on Twitter: @kc_downey

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One comment for “Lester, Bard Roughed Up As Rangers Beat Red Sox”

  1. Good defense (pitching included) trumps good offense. That being said, when even reliable pitchers like Lester and Bard can have such terrible showings, how far can Crawford and Gonzalez take the team? Hopefully, this game was just an anomaly.

    Posted by John | April 2, 2011, 12:22 pm

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