- Joe McDonald, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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BOSTON -- The Red Sox said goodbye to Fenway Park with a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday night.
The Sox ended their home schedule with a 34-47 record, which matches the club’s worst record at Fenway since 1965. Also, the Red Sox finish under .500 at home for the first time since 1997.
Boston will conclude the 2012 regular season on the road with its upcoming trip to Baltimore and New York.
Asked about how his team played at home this season, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said, “Disappointing. We didn’t walk off many and we didn’t score enough runs here. We have a lot stored up for next year.”
Red Sox starter Jon Lester fell to 9-14 after working six innings and allowing three runs on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts. The left-hander is scheduled to make his final start of the season on Tuesday against the Yankees.
Lester was solid in the first four innings and did not allow a hit with only one walk. In the top of the fifth, however, the Rays’ Jeff Keppinger led off with a single before teammates Carlos Pena and Ben Francisco provided back-to-back home runs to give Tampa a 3-1 lead.
Boston’s offense could only muster one more run and had only four hits for the game.
SWIPED: Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia stole a pair of bases for his 17th and 18th of the season. When he swiped second base in the bottom of the sixth inning, it was his 100th career stolen base. If he’s able to reach 20 steals this season, he'll do so the fourth time in his career.
WEB GEM: Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias turned in the defensive play of the game in the top of the fifth inning. Lester still hadn’t allowed a hit when the Rays’ Evan Longoria hit a hard chopper to the left side of the infield. Third baseman Pedro Ciriaco could not get a glove on the ball, but Iglesias was there to snare it. He quickly turned and made an incredible off-balance throw to get Longoria at first base. If this kid can get his offense going, fans are going to see plenty of highlight-reel plays by Iglesias.
"I think it was the best play I've ever seen in person," Lester said.
SRO: The Red Sox recorded their 793rd consecutive sellout with 37,247 in attendance. The final season total at Fenway this season is 3,043,003, which is the fifth time in club history it has surpassed the three-million mark.
UP NEXT: Now that the home portion of the schedule is complete, the Red Sox conclude the season on the road. They begin a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles on Friday at Camden Yards, before heading to New York for a three-game set against the Yankees. Boston right-hander Aaron Cook (4-10, 5.13 ERA) will start on Friday against the Orioles’ Chris Tillman (8-2, 3.08). The Sox’s Felix Doubront (11-9, 4.91) will get the nod on Saturday and Zach Stewart (1-3, 7.91) will start for Boston on Sunday.
BOSTON -- The Red Sox said goodbye to Fenway Park with a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday night. The Sox ended their home schedule with a 34-47 record, which matches the club’s worst record at Fenway since 1965.