The result was an 8-6 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on Saturday night for the Red Sox's fifth straight loss overall and fifth consecutive loss to the team Boston beat in the American League Championship Series last season.
Lester (6-7) allowed five runs and 12 hits in 4⅓ innings. He walked a batter and had no strikeouts. He allowed home runs by Tigers rookies Nick Castellanos and Eugenio Suarez, whose homer was also his first major league hit.
"Obviously, [I] wasn't good from the start. Just one of those nights," Lester said. "Just felt bad from the first pitch of warm-ups to the first pitch on the mound. It wasn't good."
The relievers weren't much better, as Detroit scored in six of the eight innings it batted.
"We couldn't put up any zeroes tonight," catcher David Ross said.
Of course, that came on the same night as Boston's slumping offense showing some life. The Red Sox scored four runs against last season's AL Cy Young Award winner, Max Scherzer (7-2), and had two on and two out in the ninth, with the potential winning run in the person of Stephen Drew up facing struggling Tigers closer Joe Nathan.
But Drew flied out to center to end the game.
Scherzer gave up 11 hits in 6⅔ innings, walking one and striking out nine.
"We battled against Scherzer. [When] We put up four [runs] against a guy like Scherzer, we need to win," Lester said. "You put up four against a team's best pitcher "
The ninth-inning comeback attempt might have come up short, but the inning did feature a bizarre stolen base.
Xander Bogaerts stole third with David Ortiz at bat and one out in the inning. When third baseman Castellanos ran to the right side of the infield for the shift and left third uncovered, Bogaerts took off from second and beat Nathan to the bag at third. Nathan collided with Bogaerts, briefly taking him off the bag, but the call was safe.
The Tigers challenged the call, but the ruling stood.
"I'd rather he would have slid so you don't leave up to the replay," Boston manager John Farrell said.
He added: "We battled all the way to the end."
But the result was the same.