FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 09: Shortstop Clint Barmes #12 of the Pittsburgh Pirates cannot come up with the throw as shortstop Mike Aviles #3 of the Boston Red Sox steals second base during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at JetBlue Park on March 9, 2012 in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
After working around a few hits in the first pair of innings, Lester would get hit and hard with the start of the third. Allowing a ground-rule double to get things started, three straight singles would score a pair of runs and leave one man on thanks to some bad baserunning from Casey McGehee.
One more swing, and the Pirates doubled their run total, with Matt Hague taking advantage of a nice breeze and a bad pitch to launch a two-run shot to left. Lester would finish his day with the end of the inning, allowing four runs on eight hits, two walks, a homer and a strikeout in three frames of work.
The Red Sox' bats were initially up to the task of recovering from the early hole. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Josh Kroeger had already combined for a run in the second, and in the fourth Salty would strike again, going deep to bring the Sox within a run at 4-3. One inning later, and Adrian Gonzalez was doubling home Kevin Youkilis to tie the game.
The Sox would even eventually take the lead on a Mauro Gonzalez homer in the seventh, but after Junichi Tazawa threw three strong innings, Andrew Bailey would be punished for one bad pitch. With a runner on by way of a ground ball, Nate McLouth caught one and send it out to right, scoring a fifth and sixth run for the Pirates. With Juan Cruz managing to strand Nate Spears at second base in the ninth, the game would end with the Sox' third straight loss, 6-5.