Jon Lester’s awful season was summed up in one afternoon when he surrendered 11 runs (all earned), on nine hits and five walks with four home runs in four innings against the Blue Jays. Lester said it was “embarrassing,” and Bobby Valentine’s decision to allow an ineffective Lester to remain on the mound was said to be a flashpoint that prompted some Red Sox players to seek a meeting with team ownership the next week in New York. The loss finished off a Toronto sweep of the Red Sox, and it seemed to take a toll on Lester. “It’s hard for me to walk around this clubhouse and look guys in the eye right now,’’ Lester said.
The Daniel Bard-as-a-starter experiment came to an end after one of the pitcher’s worst-ever performances. Bard walked six and surrendered five earned runs in just 1 2/3 innings. He became the first pitcher since 1918 to walk six and hit two in two or fewer innings. “I’ve had bad ones before,’’ Bard said. “Nothing like that.’’ Bard was sent to Pawtucket after the game, with his career trajectory thrown off course by his addition to the rotation. Bard had devolved from one of the most effective eighth inning pitchers in baseball to a completely ineffective starter who had lost his confidence.
A Red Sox team that just four days earlier was two games above .500, riding a four-game win streak, and thinking about climbing into the playoff race was dealt a vicious blow by the Twins. Red Sox closer Alfredo Aceves narrowly missed a called third strike on Joe Mauer that would have ended the game. Given a second chance, Mauer drilled a pitch over the left field wall for a three-run home run that clinched the game. It left Aceves angry and the Red Sox reeling, back under .500 and en route to their worst finish since 1965.