There aren't many pitching matchups with more promise than Jon Lester vs. Max Scherzer. With those two taking the mound Saturday night, Red Sox and Tigers fans might have settled in expecting an impressive pitchers' duel.
Those expectations lasted less than a full inning. Given how poorly things have been going for the Red Sox of late, it should perhaps come as no surprise that it was Lester who could not follow through. After Scherzer worked through the first surrendering just a single to Xander Bogaerts, Lester, on the other hand, coughed up three straight two-out hits--two of them for extra bases--allowing the Tigers an early 2-0 lead.
Sometimes it can just take a strong starter an inning to settle in, leaving the first the only real chance to get on the board against them. That was not the case with Lester, unfortunately. The first inning was just a sign of things to come. A trio of hits, one of them nothing more than a bunt, earned Jon Lester a third earned run in the second, while Nick Castellanos took a different approach in the third, launching a solo shot to left on a first-pitch fastball from Lester. Rookie Eugenio Suarez followed suit one inning later, jumping on a 3-2 fastball to hit his first career homer.
Lester simply had nothing tonight. Even with home plate umpire Vic Carapazza calling the sort of wide zone that Lester would usually feast on, the Tigers were the ones going to town. Lester managed not a single strikeout on the night, and even gave up a pair of hits in the only scoreless inning he appeared in--the fifth, when Craig Breslow came in to clean up his mess with a double play.
The Red Sox lineup, to their credit, actually did manage to respond against Scherzer. It just took them too long. Dustin Pedroia was the first Red Sox batter to draw blood with his third homer of the year in the fourth, and Jackie Bradley Jr. managed to drive in David Ross one inning later. The Red Sox would manage to put together their own picket-fence attack, scoring in the next two innings as well courtesy of Stephen Drew and David Ortiz.
Just when the Sox pulled within a couple runs, however the Tigers scored two more off Breslow and Junichi Tazawa, pushing their total up to seven runs, then scoring an eighth in the seventh. The only thing that made this game look at all close at the end was a two-run rally off of Joe Nathan. To their credit, they would actually manage to bring the go-ahead run to the plate, but the rally finally ended when Drew flew out to end the game, ensuring Boston's losing streak would reach five games.