Red Sox-Rays Live: Control Struggles Doom Jon Lester, Sox in 8-3 Loss at Tropicana Field


David Ortiz

Final, Rays 8-3: Jake McGee shuts the door, and the Red Sox drop the second game of this three-game series.

Jon Lester did not show his best stuff for Boston tonight, walking a season-high seven batters and surrendering seven runs in just 4 2/3 innings of work.

On the other side, Roberto Hernandez was very solid for Tampa Bay. Hernandez, who was known in the baseball world as Fausto Carmona until recently, allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks over seven innings, striking out seven.

These two teams will face off in the rubber match Wednesday night at 7:10 p.m., with Boston’s Alfredo Aceves opposing highly touted Rays prospect Chris Archer.

Thanks for joining me tonight. Goodnight, everyone.

End 8th, Rays 8-3: Some overeager baserunning by Sean Rodriguez (who steals up five runs? C’mon now) wiped a leadoff single off the basepaths, and Jose De La Torre was able to complete what has been an overall solid relief outing.

Rodriguez was caught in a rundown between first and second and eventually tagged out by Stephen Drew after being chased around a bit by David Ross — which was a sight you don’t see everyday.

De La Torre then walked Ben Zobrist but struck out Evan Longoria and induced an inning-ending groundout to close out the home half of the eighth.

The Red Sox now have a five-run hole to climb out of in the ninth with Tampa Bay reliever Jake McGee on the mound.

Mid 8th, Rays 8-3: After 122 pitches, Roberto Hernandez’s night is finally done.

Joe Maddon sent his starter back out for the eighth inning, but Hernandez failed to record an out before being lifted in favor of Joel Peralta.

Herandez opened the eighth by hitting Dustin Pedroia in the elbow area, which caused both dugouts to tense up after last night’s shenanigans. This beanball did not seem to be intentional, though, and Hernandez looked like he regretted it as soon as it left his hand.

David Ortiz then reached when Ryan Roberts couldn’t handle his ground ball, sending Hernandez to the showers.

Peralta retired all three batters he faced, though, allowing the Rays to take a five-run lead into what they hope will be their final at-bats.

End 7th, Rays 8-3: After allowing a home run to the first batter he faced, Jose De La Torre has settled down. He completed his second straight inning of scoreless relief, with a little help from Jose Iglesias on the defensive end.

With nobody out, Iglesias lunged to his left to get his glove on a ball hit sharply by Ryan Roberts. After knocking it down, he jumped to his feet and — flat-footed — fired to first to retire the second baseman with time to spare.

After a Jose Molina strikeout, Matt Joyce walked, stole second and took third when David Ross’ throw sailed high into center field. Ross may have tweaked something on the play, as he could clearly be seen grimacing after letting the ball go.

Desmond Jennings grounded out to end the inning.

Mid 7th, Rays 8-3: Jose Iglesias notched his second base hit of the night, but that’s all the Red Sox would get against Roberto Hernandez.

After Iglesias led off the seventh with a single, Jacoby Ellsbury grounded into a 3-6-3 double play and Shane Victorino flied out to shallow left-center field to quickly put a bow on the inning.

End 6th, Rays 8-3: The Red Sox finally completed their first 1-2-3 inning of the night, with Jose De La Torre rebounding from a rocky fifth to sit the Rays down in order.

De La Torre retired Evan Longoria (via strikeout), Yunel Escobar (via flyout) and James Loney (via groundout) on just nine pitches.

Rays starter Roberto Hernandez returns for a seventh inning of work, though Joel Peralta is now warming in the bullpen.

Mid 6th, Rays 8-3: Roberto Hernandez retires the side on his 104th pitch of the night.

Hernandez has not surpassed the 105-pitch mark since his third start of the season way back on April 16, so it will be interesting to see if Joe Maddon chooses to send him out for a seventh inning of work.

David Ortiz singled through the Papi shift to open the sixth, breaking a streak of seven consecutive outs for Hernandez.

The righty then struck out Mike Napoli and got Daniel Nava to fly out to center before walking Stephen Drew and inducing an inning-ending popup off the bat of David Ross, who has yet to reach base tonight.

End 5th, Rays 8-3: And that’ll do it for Lester.

The Sox starter managed to get the second out of the inning after catching Ryan Roberts in a rundown, but he then served up his third home run of the night, this one a two-run shot by Matt Joyce, to officially drop the curtain on his outing.

Lester’s final line: 4 2/3 innings, seven runs, eight hits, seven walks, three home runs, three strikeouts. Not ideal.

Joyce has been the centerpiece of the series for the Rays, homering twice in two games and triggering last night’s benches-clearing scrum after being plunked by John Lackey.

Newly promoted Jose De La Torre, the only fresh arm in the Red Sox bullpen, relieved Lester. The rookie did not fare much better than his predecessor, though, allowing a home run to Desmond Jennings, the first batter he faced, and walking Sean Rodriguez on four pitches before getting Ben Zobrist to fly out to right to end the inning.

Though he would normally be pulled after that performance, the sorry state of the Boston ‘pen likely means De La Torre will return to the mound in the sixth.

Bottom 5th, Rays 5-3: Jon Lester had surpassed his season high for walks, and the bullpen phone is starting to ring.

After James Loney lined out to open the bottom of the fifth, Lester walked Ryan Roberts and Jose Molina consecutively, prompting pitching coach Juan Nieves to get right-hander Jose De La Torre up in the ‘pen.

Mid 5th, Rays 5-3: The Red Sox again get nothing against Roberto Hernandez, who has retired the last seven batters he’s faced.

Two of the outs in the top of the fourth were routine enough (groundouts to shortstop and second base), but they bookended a highlight-reel grab by Sean Rodriguez, who laid out to haul in a sinking liner off the bat of Shane Victorino.

End 4th, Rays 5-3: For the third straight inning, the Rays score with two outs.

This latest run came via the long ball, as Evan Longoria took Jon Lester deep to extend Tampa Bay’s advantage to 5-3. Longoria’s homer came on the same pitch as Desmond Jennings’ bomb back in the second — a mid-90s sinker over the middle of the plate.

Lester induced a pair of infield popups to open the inning and rebounded from Longoria’s home run, getting Yunel Escobar to ground out to shortstop.

Mid 4th, Rays 4-3: Three up, three down, as Roberto Hernandez strikes out the side in order in the fourth.

The right-hander sat down Stephen Drew and David Ross swinging before getting Jose Iglesias looking for his fifth K of the night.

Sean Rodriguez, Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria are due up next for the Rays.

End 3rd, Rays 4-3: No team wants to hold a lead in this one.

After falling behind in the top of the third, the Rays plated two more runs in the home half to take the lead for the second time tonight.

Ben Zobrist opened the inning with a single up the middle. Jon Lester then sandwiched a pair of strikeouts around a walk to Yunel Escobar to set up men on first and second with two outs.

The Rays then followed with three straight singles. Ryan Roberts drove in Zobrist with the tying run, and Jose Molina’s soft line drive drive fell out of the reach of Jacoby Ellsbury to plate Escobar.

Matt Joyce also reached on an infield single, beating out the throw by Stephen Drew, but Desmond Jennings grounded out with the bases loaded to end the frame.

John Farrell will almost certainly have to go to his bullpen early in this one, as Lester has already thrown 70 pitches (with just 37 strikes) and walked five batters — one shy of his season high.

Mid 3rd, Red Sox 3-2: Jose Iglesias has now hit safely in 14 consecutive games.

The third baseman reached on a leadoff single and quickly found himself on third.

Jacoby Ellsbury dribbled a slow grounder down the first-base line, and James Loney poorly decided to try to snipe Iglesias at second. His throw was off the mark and way late, and the Red Sox had two men on with no outs.

Shane Victorino then dropped down a sac bunt to advance the runners — his team-leading third sacrifice of the season.

Roberto Hernandez stuck out Dustin Pedroia swinging and intentionally walked David Ortiz, setting up a bases-loaded situation for Mike Napoli. The first baseman has been on fire with the bases chucked this season, and he came through again, driving in Iglesias and Ellsbury with a bloop single to center field.

Daniel Nava almost brought home another pair of runs, but center fielder Desmond Jennings was able to run down his sinking fly ball in the right-center-field gap to retire the side.

End 2nd, Rays 2-1: The scoreboard may not seem too dire right now, but things have gone from bad to worse for Jon Lester.

Lester struck out Jose Molina looking and got Matt Joyce to fly out to the warning track to record a pair a quick outs.

But he then hung a sinker right down the pipe to Desmond Jennings, and Jennings responded by hitting it out of the park.

After two innings, Lester has already thrown 44 pitches. That, especially tonight, is not good.

Mid 2nd, 1-1: The Sox put the leadoff man on again, but the Rays bailed themselves out with a twin killing of their own.

Daniel Nava singled to open the second, continuing his fortnight-long tear, but Stephen Drew grounded into a double play to wipe him off the basepaths.

Roberto Hernandez then struck out David Ross to retire the side, and we head to the bottom of the second tied at one run apiece.

End 1st, 1-1: This is not the start the Red Sox need.

The Rays plated just one run in their half of the first — a well-timed double play made sure of that — but Jon Lester is having serious trouble locating with any of his pitches.

Lester walked four batters in the opening frame and threw just nine of his 26 pitches for strikes.

Desmond Jennings led things off by beating out an infield single that Dustin Pedroia charged but could not relay to first in time.

Lester then walked Sean Rodriguez on five pitches before Ben Zobrist grounded into a key 4-6-3 double play. Lester followed this up with three consecutive walks, though, including one to James Loney to bring home the tying run.

Ryan Roberts grounded out to the pitcher with the bases loaded to end the threat, but this start could spell trouble for the Sox. Boston’s bullpen is already severely taxed after working overtime last night, and John Farrell could really use a long outing from his starter.

Mid 1st, Red Sox 1-0: It wasn’t quite the offensive explosion we saw yesterday, but the Red Sox got on the scoreboard first again in the opening frame.

Jacoby Ellsbury opened the game with a base hit and stole second with Shane Victorino at the plate. Victorino also singled, advancing Ellsbury to third.

Dustin Pedroia then brought the lead runner home with a sacrifice fly to right field, giving the Sox an early 1-0 lead.

Victorino stole second, as well, but Roberto Hernandez struck out David Ortiz and got Mike Napoli to ground out to third base to end the inning.

This is the first season in Tampa Bay for the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona, who spent spent the first seven years of his career in Cleveland.

Hernandez — at the time going by the name he used to obtain a visa after emigrating from the Dominican Republic — was at times dominant for the Indians, but he was wildly inconsistent. He posted ERAs of 3.06 and 3.77 in 2007 and 2010, respectively, earning an All-Star nod in the latter, but finished each of other five seasons with an ERA above 5.03.

The right-hander also holds a particularly undesirable place in the history books. As the Tribe’s Opening Day starter in 2011, he became the first starter to allow 10 runs or more in his team’s first game since the 1940s.

The Rays will send Desmond Jennings, Sean Rodriguez and Ben Zobrist to the plate first against Jon Lester.

7:10 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury takes ball one from Roberto Hernandez and we are underway.

6:50 p.m.: If you’re looking to get your fill of flying fists and can’t wait for tomorrow’s Bruins-Blackhawks game, you might want to keep your eyes on Tropicana Field tonight.

John Lackey’s beaning of Matt Joyce last night emptied both benches and led Rays manager Joe Maddon to question Lackey’s status as a good teammate.

That scuffle was tame by Sox-Rays standards, but this series is just getting started. Don’t be surprised if tensions boil over again before the Red Sox head back up north.

6 p.m.: Last night’s five-and-a-half-hour affair taxed the pitching staffs of both clubs.

Franklin Morales, who was scheduled to start Wednesday night, was pressed into emergency relief deep into extra innings, wiping him out of the equation for tomorrow’s series finale.

That dilemma has led to some roster finagling on the part of the Red Sox, who place Clayton Mortensen on the 15-day disabled list earlier today and activated reliever Jose De La Torre.

De La Torre will bolster a depleted Boston bullpen tonight, but his second career stint in the majors will likely last just one day. John Farrell announced in his pregame press conference that the team will call up Alfredo Aceves to start in Morales’ place Wednesday night, likely sending De La Torre back to Triple-A.

5:05 p.m.: Mike Napoli spent last night’s series opener in the dugout after struggling (2-for-14, eight strikeouts) in three games against the Angels over the weekend. His bat will be back in the middle of the order against Roberto Hernandez tonight, though, and Jose Iglesias’ will be back at the bottom.

John Farrell has said he plays to give Iglesias, who is hitting a team-leading .446 in 23 games, at least three starts a week now that Will Middlebrooks has returned from the disabled list.

Middlebrooks got the start last night and struggled at the plate, singling in the first then going hitless in his final six at-bats.

The Rays, meanwhile, have given their batting order the full shuffle. Only Evan Longoria, playing third base and batting cleanup, will hit in the same slot as last night.

Check out the full starting lineups for both teams below.

Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF
Stephen Drew, SS
David Ross, C
Jose Iglesias, 3B

Jon Lester, LHP

Desmond Jennings, CF
Sean Rodriguez, LF
Ben Zobrist, RF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Yunel Escobar, SS
James Loney, 1B
Ryan Roberts, 2B
Jose Molina, C
Matt Joyce, DH

Roberto Hernandez, RHP

8 a.m. ET: Monday night was a long one at Tropicana Field.

The Red Sox and Rays played nearly five and a half hours of baseball, with the Red Sox giving away a six-run lead in regulation and another two-run lead in extra innings before Daniel Nava finally won it with an RBI single in the top of the 14th.

The game was so long, in fact, that the fact that the teams nearly came to blows in the sixth inning was almost forgotten by the time the Trop closed up shop early Tuesday morning. That scuffle surely has not been forgotten by the players, though, and the longstanding tension between these two teams will be a storyline to watch as this series continues.

With both teams completely emptying their bullpens in the 14-inning affair (the Rays even had infielder Ryan Roberts warming up in the late stages), it will be increasingly important for Tuesday’s starters to eat up innings. Jon Lester (6-2, 3.60 ERA) takes the mound for Boston while Tampa Bay counters with Roberto Hernandez (3-6, 5.03).

First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m., with coverage beginning at 6 p.m. on NESN.

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