Jun 10, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks (16) hits a RBI single during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Lester Hammered, Offense Tamed. Sox Comeback Effort Comes Up Short As Orioles Win 6-3.

Jon Lester‘s long and winding road of frustration continued Sunday afternoon in Baltimore. The Orioles jumped on him early and often and the Sox lefty, who hasn’t won a game since May 15, took another one on the chin as the Orioles beat on the Sox 6-3.

Jun 11, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester (31) spits water in the dugout after he was taken out during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In the third inning Adam Jones doubled to score Nick Markakis and Chris Davis hit his 23rd homer of the year, a two-run job, to put the Birds up 3-0.

In the fifth inning, Manny Machado singled to score Markakis and advanced to third on an error by Lester Sox first baseman Mike Carp.

The Birds moved their record to 6-2 against the AL East leading Sox

Os starter Miguel Gonzalez hog tied Boston’s offense . Through the sixth inning the Old Towne Team had just two hits, singles by Jacoby Ellsbury, and got only one runner to third base. And speaking of the sixth inning, here’s the way the day went for Boston.

Ellsbury singled and Jose Iglesias reached on a error by Orioles third baseman Machado. It could have turned into a big inning but Os left fielder Steve Pearce snagged a Daniel Nava deep fly ball to left center to squelch a Sox rally. David Ortiz hit a hit a grounder to Chris Davis, which he scooped, to end the inning.

Lester was lifted after the sixth and was replaced by Pedro Beato, who Boston acquired from the New York Mets in 2012. The Mets traded Beato to the Sox as the player to be named later in the trade that sent Kelly Shoppach to the Mets. Beato did his job, retiring the side in the sixth.

The Sox finally got to Gonzalez in the seventh when Will Middlebrooks cracked a three-run homer with Shane Victorino and Jarrod Saltalamacchia aboard. Red Sox injury woes also continued in the seventh inning when Mike Carp was removed after pulling up lame at third base. With Mike Napoli in Boston trying to figure out what is making him light headed and nauseous, there is a serious gap at first base heading into next weeks series against the Rays (double header on Tuesday) and Tigers.

The Orioles broke back in the bottom of the frame against Junichi Tazawa when Markakis doubled – his third hit of the game (four overall) – and moved to third on Machado’s sac bunt. With one out and the infield drawn in, J.J. Hardy poked a single past Stephen Drew to score Markakis to put the Os up 6-3.

Jones hit a ground rule double that actually worked in Boston’s favor since Hardy had to be held at third. Tazawa was lifted for Andrew Miller, who was able to strike out Davis and Wieters to contain the damage.

Orioles relievers Brian Matusz, Tommy Hunter and Jim Johnson stoned the Sox in the eighth and ninth to nail down the win. The game and series underscored some trends that are becoming painfully obvious. First, Boston’s pitching is in trouble. With Clay Buchholz likely heading to the DL and Lester looking ever more shaky, Farrell is about the enter that dark managerial testing period of that turns hair gray. Second, Boston’s injuries and illness are hobbling the club with the Orioles now nipping at their heels and crucial series against the Rays and Tigers on the horizon.

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  • Rick M

    So much for the O’s “questionable” starting pitching. A month ago who would have thought Lackey and Dempster would be more reliably than the fast fading Lester?

    • Crusader10

      There has to be something wrong with Lester. He is too good a pitcher normally to be putting up these kinds of numbers. Slumps happen, but this is not a mere slump.

      • John Fahrer

        Slump or no slump, it’s time to end the talk of him being an ace or even a number two starter. The guy’s a three at best at this point. Really starting to wonder if he’s worth that $14 million option the club holds on him for 2014.

        • Crusader10

          I never agree with the “Let’s throw him overboard” mindset. Clearly, he was capable of being a #1 starter, and clearly he is not pitching like one. Something is wrong. Is it correctable? That is the question. Is it in his head? In his arm? Those are the areas that need to be looked at.

        • stephenepeterson

          Not an ace for sure.

      • stephenepeterson

        No lie. In actuality, the 2013 6-0 start has been the aberration. He was awful in 2012 and since May 15 this is an unfortunate return to form.

    • John Fahrer

      Have a feeling there will be two sides amongst Red Sox fans at the end of the season: Pick Up That Option and Let Him Walk. As of right now, I’d be in the latter.

    • stephenepeterson

      Regrettably, you are so right.

  • Crusader10

    For some reason, it seems that the Orioles have the Red Sox’ number. Even when they were pathetically bad, they gave the Sox trouble. I guess it is just one of those mysteries.

    • stephenepeterson

      Truly a mystery when they were bad. I think now that they’re able to compete they just like beating up on the Sox. Extra incentive: payback. It feels to me like the Red Sox are to the Orioles what the Yankees were for years to the Red Sox; the big brother that the weakling could never seems to surpass. Remember how good 2004 felt for us? That’s how I’m sure the end of the 2011 felt for Orioles fans and the beat has kept on. They didn’t even go to the playoffs in 2011 but it was a pivotal moment.