Lester can't stop Angels' historic sweep
August, 31, 2012
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- For one night, the band was reunited, or as close as they'll come until next August, when the Boston Red Sox play the Los Angeles Dodgers in L.A.
The Sox were here, losing to the Angels, 5-2, despite a route-going performance by Jon Lester, who was touched up for a couple of runs in the first, a couple more in the third, and one more in the fourth, which was more than enough for Zack Greinke, who finally resembled the pitcher the Angels thought they were getting when they acquired him from Milwaukee just before the trading deadline.
Meanwhile, just up the freeway in Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers and their newly transplanted ex-Sox stars were trying to avoid being shut out by the Arizona Diamondbacks, who took a 2-0 lead into the late innings. Adrian Gonzalez, who hit a home run in his first at-bat for the Dodgers, has not yet taken to the role of franchise saver: Hitless in his first three at-bats Thursday night, Gonzalez was batting just .217 for Bobby Valentine's former team.
The loss to the Angels, besides dropping the Sox to eight games under .500 (62-70) also marked the first time the Halos have ever swept a season series from the Sox. The Angels won three straight last week in Boston and duplicated that feat this week in Anaheim, outscoring the Sox, 63-32, in the process.
According to the Sox media relations staff, in a burst of truth-telling that would satisfy any fact-checkers (we hope), this is the first time the Sox have ever been swept by a team in a season series of six games or more. Good times.
James Loney, who came from the Dodgers and replaced Gonzalez at first base here, hit his first home run in a Red Sox uniform, drawing him even with A-Gon in Dodger Blue. Loney also had two singles.
Lester (8-11) gave up nine hits, walked three and struck out two as his three-game winning streak came to an end. Albert Pujols, facing Lester for the first time ever, greeted him with a two-run double after a four-pitch walk to Mike Trout and a single by Torii Hunter, who had three hits.
"Struggled early on, getting into a rhythm," Lester said. "Battled myself, not locating, not getting ahead. It's tough when you do that and you don't face these guys a lot. You don't know, you don't have a feel what their game plan is going to be. Especially with me, throwing that cutter, you don't know if they're going to take it, or they're looking out over the plate.
"Just a lot of variables. After the third I was able to get into more of a rhythm and we were able to slow them down a lot better -- a lot of curveballs. If we come out of those first three innings with just two runs, maybe it's a different ballgame."
RBI singles by Mark Trumbo and Alberto Callaspo made it 4-1 in the third, and Vernon Wells scored on a double-play ball in the fourth.