On Tuesday we got it done in extras; last night we weren’t so fortunate. This one lasted one less inning, and we scored one less run. Coincidence? I think not.
In the end, Lester pitched six and one-third innings and gave up three runs, two earned, on six hits while walking two and striking out three. He issued a walk in the first and another one in the second. Then with two out in the third, a total debacle of a play resulted in Lester’s first run, which should have been classified as doubly unearned, if such a classification existed. He gave up a single that turned into a run when he and Victorino each made a separate throwing error. The ball hit Lester in the leg, and he tried to corral it and get it to Victorino. The ball rolled along the right field line, and Victorino got it and fired. Badly. It was absolutely awful. Thanks to these displays of truly abysmal fielding, what should have been just a single became instead what was essentially in practice an inside-the-park home run.
Then in the fourth Lester gave up another run after a double-double combination. He gave up another double in the fifth, and another run scored thanks to another double-double combination in the sixth. He led off the seventh with a fielding error that put a runner on first before striking out his second batter and getting lifted in favor of Workman. So, yes, Lester put at least one runner on base during every one of his innings.
Workman pitched the rest of the game. And he was lights-out for most of it. He seems to come more and more into his own with every additional inning he pitches. And he did an excellent job yesterday. If only he could have held on just a little bit longer.
Meanwhile, we went down in order three times: in the fourth, seventh, and eighth. Other than those two innings, we put men on base and had a few different scoring opportunities from which to choose. If we’d taken advantage of at least one more of those, perhaps the game would have ended differently.
We finally got on the board when Papi hit a solo shot in the sixth. Pedroia had struck out, and the count was full. He’d taken a two-seam for a ball, a slider for a strike, a two-seam for a ball, a slider for a strike, and a curveball for a ball. Then he got another slider, but this one wasn’t so great, and Papi read it like a book.
Next, it was Napoli’s turn. With one out in the ninth, Gomes walked, and with two out, Napoli hit a two-run homer on his second pitch. Both of them were sinkers; he took the first one for a ball and uncorked enough power on the second one to send it beyond the right field fence. Then Middlebrooks got hit and Ellsbury singled to load the bases with two out. Talk about prime scoring opportunities. But the Jays made a pitching change, and unfortunately this one did not work in our favor.
In the bottom of the tenth, he gave up a double, induced a groundout, and issued an intentional walk. His baserunner stole second and then scored on a single, and that was the end of that right there. The final score was 4-3.