Rookie southpaw Jon Lester pitched five innings today, allowing five earned runs on eight hits and a walk… and a pair of Red Sox relievers allowed a pair of runs apiece as Seattle came back to beat the Red Sox 9-8. Seattle 1B Richie Sexson hit a walkoff home run off Mike Timlin in the bottom of the ninth inning to seal the deal.
Among the eight hits given up by Lester today was a third inning, two-run home run to Eduardo Perez (who single-handedly ruined the Red Sox over the last two days)… the home run was the first allowed by Boston pitching in nine games. The Red Sox could have survived the Perez home run, but the Beltre inside-the-park homer in the eighth and the Sexon home run in the ninth were more than the Boston offense could overcome.
The Red Sox managed eight runs on twelve hits and four walks—and with this team THAT should be enough. David Ortiz had three hits and Jason Varitek added two hits and 3 RBI —including a game-tying home run with two out and no one on base in the top of the ninth inning off Seattle closer JJ Putz—who had allowed only one other HR all season. The Boston On-Base Machine, Kevin Youkilis, added two hits, two walks and two runs scored on the day.
But after leading 7-5 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, Seattle scored two runs on reliever Manny Delcarmen to tie the game… and then scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth inning on Beltre’s inside-the-park home run (which probably should have been ruled a double and an error). Varitek and Sexson then traded ninth inning HR to bring the game to its conclusion.
“Crazy game. Back and forth,” Boston manager Terry Francona said.
Boston failed to extend its AL East lead, which remained 2½ games over the New York Yankees… as the Yankees lost again to Toronto 13-5.
Timlin took the brunt of the blame after giving up two homers for the first time since April 30, 2002: “Totally my fault”.
Lester, from nearby Puyallup, Wash., was pitching in front of about 50 friends and family, including his high school baseball coach… which may account for his lack of effectiveness this afternoon.