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Game 2: Lester struggles, Sox lose

There are high hopes for Jon Lester this season, but let's just hope his first start of the 2009 season isn't a sign of things to come.

Lester got knocked around for eight hits, five runs and two walks in the Rays' 7-2 victory over the Sox on Wednesday night. Lester struck out five.

The top of the Rays' order did the most damage. Jason Bartlett, Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria combined to go 8-for-15 with two runs and three RBIs.Carlos Pena also chipped in a two-run home run.

The Red Sox offense never really got into a groove. Kevin Youkilis, for back-to-back games now, was the only Sox to have more than one hit. He went 3-for 4 with an RBI. Jason Bay was responsible for the other RBI when he doubled in David Ortiz in the 8th.

Relief pitching was mixed: Manny Delcarmen and Ramon Ramirez had solid innings each, but Takashi Saito and Javier Lopez got touched up a bit (one run each). Saito allowed a home run Longoria in the 8th.

Scott Kazmir, who started for the Rays, pitched well in the victory. He went six innings, allowed five hits, one run, three walks and struck out four.

Lester's struggled, but we shouldn't read too much into his performance. I didn't get to see most of the game, but we need to remember Spring Training just ended. For some guys (not Josh Beckett, though, apparently) there's still a hump to get over. Maybe that was Lester's problem last night.

Daisuke Matsuzaka faces Matt Garza today at 1:35 p.m.