June 12, 2013

Lester slump continues as Red Sox fall

- WEDNESDAY'S GAME

WHO: Red Sox (Aceves 2-1) at Tampa Bay Rays (Archer 1-1)

WHEN: 7:10 p.m.

TELEVISION: NESN

The Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Matt Joyce sent a message with his bat Tuesday night.

Joyce hit one of three homers off Jon Lester to help the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox, 8-3.

Joyce, one day after being hit by a pitch that sparked a benches-clearing scrum, put the Rays up 7-3 with a two-run shot in the fifth that ended Lester's night.

"It's a great feeling, especially to help your team win," Joyce said. "I've never really been the type of person to talk a lot of trash, so I wanted, of course, to come out and play a good game. Play the game the right way and win the ballgame."

Desmond Jennings homered twice and Evan Longoria also went deep for the Rays. Roberto Hernandez (4-6) allowed three runs and seven hits over seven-plus innings.

Lester (6-3) had his winless streak reach five starts, including three losses, since beating the Rays on May 15. He gave up seven runs, eight hits and seven walks in 42/3 innings.

"Over the last two or three, I think I've thrown the ball better than what the linescore showed," Lester said. "This one, obviously, it is what it is. It's just terrible. I did a terrible job of helping our bullpen out, a terrible job of keeping the ball down in the zone. The list goes on. This is solely on me. I just flat-out didn't get it done."

The teams were coming off a testy 14-inning game Monday night, won by the Red Sox 10-8, that took 5 hours, 24 minutes. An on-field scrum took place in the sixth after John Lackey hit Joyce in the center of the back with a pitch.

Lackey insisted he meant no harm, though the Rays hardly were convinced. Joyce and Tampa Bay Manager Joe Maddon both said it was intentional.

"I'm sure he was, definitely, mentally involved in this game," Maddon said of Joyce. "He had himself a nice night."

Hernandez hit Dustin Pedroia, who was leading off the eighth Tuesday, with a pitch that got away. Pedroia immediately ran to first and nothing else ensued.

The Rays grabbed a 4-3 lead in the third on run-scoring singles by Ryan Roberts and Jose Molina. Longoria made it 5-3 on a solo shot in the fourth.

Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead on Jennings' solo homer in the second. He also had a solo drive off Jose De La Torre in the fifth for his third career multihomer game.

Mike Napoli had a two-run single in the third that put Boston ahead 3-2.

After Pedroia gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the first with a sacrifice fly, Tampa Bay tied it in the bottom half when James Loney walked with the bases loaded on the fourth walk of the inning by Lester.

"The first inning kind of sums up the whole night," Lester said. "I was not able to repeat whatever pitch it may be, fastball, curveball, change-up, cutter. I just was not able to repeat, whether it be a location or just the pitch itself. It's not good."

NOTES: Clay Buchholz's next start for Boston will be pushed back by at least two days.

Buchholz, 9-0 with a big league-best 1.71 ERA, left Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Angels with what the team called "neck tightness."

Manager John Farrell said Buchholz could resume throwing on Wednesday and have a bullpen session Friday, which was the day of his next scheduled start. If all goes well, Buchholz might pitch Sunday.

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