Eight is Too Much: Lester and Pen Falter Late, Sox Lose 5-2

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 10: Joe Mauer #7 and Joe Nathan #36 of the Minnesota Twins celebrate a win against the Boston Red Sox on August 10, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Red Sox 5-2. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

 

Jon Lester managed to go 7 1/3 innings without his best stuff but, it turned out to be just a bit too much. Struggling with walks throughout, Lester gave a free pass to Joe Mauer to start the 8th. Mauer advanced on Michael Cuddyer’s ground out and scored on Jim Thome’s double breaking the 2-2 tie and giving Minnesota the edge they needed in the game. The hit chased Lester from the mound; Alfredo Aceves relieved him and was hit hard, allowing an inherited runner to score and giving up a run of his own in just a 1/3 of an inning.

On a night where he walked five and struck out just four, Jon Lester showed that he can make due without killer stuff, pitching better than his final line would suggest (7.1 IP, 4 H, 4R, 4K 5BB). Regardless he takes the loss. Lester outlasted his counterpart Nick Blackburn, who pitched very well. Blackburn allowed just one run, unearned in 6 2/3 innings. He allowed six hits and two walks while striking out four. He did not get win, however, as Glen Perkins played the vulture. Perkins allowed a game tying home run to Ortiz in the top of the eight and was the pitcher of record when Thome and company broke the game open. Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save of the season.  

The Red Sox bats were almost entirely silent aside from Papi’s solo shot. Their only other run came in the seventh as the result of an error by Twins second baseman, Trevor Plouffe, on a Jacoby Ellsbury grounder. Ortiz had the best night at the plate with the homer, a walk and a single. Mike Aviles, subbing for Dustin Pedoria, had two hits, including a double, but the team could not string anything together against Minnesota tonight.

Mauer walked and score on a Thome hit in the first inning to get Minnesota on the board. The twins catcher also gave them the lead on a fan-interference double in the six, before pairing up with Thome for the go a-head run a second time in the eight. Shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka drove in the other two runs in the eight with a bases loaded single up the middle.

The loss keeps the Red Sox from completing the sweep and cuts their lead in the AL East back down to 1.5 games. After an off-day, the team lands in Seattle for a three game series against the Mariners

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