But as quickly as Dustin Pedroia launched a two-run homer in the first, Lester's lead just as quickly slipped away. Two innings into Tuesday's 18-3 loss, the lefty was forced to exit after surrendering seven runs and four walks.
"It's one of those nights where I flat-out stunk," Lester said. "When I did make the adjustment and tried to get back in the zone, it just wasn't good enough. It wasn't a good night for me. I'll come back in tomorrow, strap it on again, get back to work, go back and look at the tape, see if there's something I can fix. If there's not, then we'll just run back out there in five days and go out there again."
Lester's lengthy at-bats against Texas hitters didn't help his cause. In one sequence against Adrian Beltre, Lester had tossed 12 pitches to the Rangers' third baseman.
By the time he was yanked after two-plus innings, Lester had thrown 80 pitches — 46 for strikes — to nearly match a game’s worth of work.
"I never think about the pitch count or worry about the pitch count when I'm out on the mound," Lester said. "That thought never crossed my mind about not being able to get out of the inning. They're good hitters. Fouled off some good pitches. Hit some bad pitches. Hit some good pitches. Just one of those deals, wasn't very good. When I wasn't good, they hit it."
Lester's rocky performance, coupled with Mark Melancon's troublesome eighth inning, resulted in Boston's largest loss since a 22-1 defeat at the hands of the Yankees on June 19, 2000.