66-43: Lester, Timlin struggle in loss to M’s

It was a forgettable second homecoming for Jon Lester, as the Mariners put up a lot of offense early to beat the Red Sox, 7-4.

In his first start in his hometown of Seattle since his recovery from lymphoma, Lester pitched a very mediocre five innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks. He suffered a three-run fourth inning when he allowed a one-out single by phenom Adam Jones, walked Jose Lopez and then gave up a home run by Yuniesky Betancourt, the ninth hitter in Seattle’s lineup. He was pulled after five innings, with the score tied at 4-4. Despite throwing 99 pitches, Lester failed to pitch into the sixth inning.

Mike Timlin (1-1) had his scoreless innings streak of 16 innings abruptly broken, but managed to escape a sixth inning jam allowing only one run when he got Jose Guillen to line into an inning-ending double play. He also allowed two more in the seventh on a two-run shot by Kenji Johjima that made it 7-4. He was tagged for the loss in this one.

The lineup did a good job getting Horacio Ramirez out of the game after just four innings of work, but the Sox couldn’t get to the Mariners’ bullpen, which has been very good this season. Sean Green (5-1) tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings for Seattle and recorded the victory. We drew only two walks on the night, which is unusual for a lineup as patient as ours. J.J. Putz pitched a perfect ninth for his 32nd save of this season.

Once again, a baserunning blunder cost the Sox what could have become a big rally. With the bases loaded, Mike Lowell dropped a soft bloop hit into right field to score Dustin Pedroia. Not wanting to challenge Guillen’s arm in right, Kevin Youkilis held up at third, only to have Manny Ramirez show up there too, after he chugged around second with his head down. Youkilis was tagged to make the second out.

The Sox also loaded the bases in the second, only to have Pedroia hit into a double play. The Sox left 17 men on the basepaths, a lot of them early.

David Ortiz hit his 19th home run of the year, a solo blast in the third inning, and had three hits for the Red Sox. Pedroia went 2-5 from the leadoff slot, and is now hitting .303/.410/.394 in that role.


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