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A loss, but improvement for Jon Lester

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  July 14, 2013 02:07 AM

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Jon Lester did not pitch poorly against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night, giving up three runs on six hits over 6.1 innings. Statistically, that’s a quality start and by that measure it represents progress.

But A.J.Griffin dominated the Sox, throwing eight innings in a game the Athletics won, 3-0. So Lester was tagged with another loss, his second on this road trip.

“I thought tonight was a very solid performance for him,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “You know, on a night when we score our typical amount of runs we’re probably having a completely different conversation after the game with the way he’s pitched.”

Lester is 2-6 with a 6.27 earned run average in his last 11 starts. As the Red Sox evaluate their rotation for after the break, Lester is still a question mark. After a terrific first nine games of the season (6-0, 2.72), he is searching for some kind of consistency.

“Stuff’s the same. Mindset’s the same. Bad execution,” Lester said. “When it comes down to those times in the game where you need to execute pitches and not allow runs to come across the plate, I just didn’t do a very good job of that.”

Lester felt he commanded his pitches better against the Athletics, moved his fastball around and had a good change up.

“Just keep plugging away. Work hasn’t stopped. Come back out in my next go round and come back with the same stuff I had [Saturday] both on the mound and in my head. I feel like I’m real close,” he said.

Lester said the All-Star break would allow him to return next week feeling like it’s a new season. The Sox have to hope he pitches that way, too. Lester’s first start is likely to be against the Yankees.

The Red Sox will pitch rookie Brandon Workman against All-Star Bartolo Colon in the series finale. The Sox are 5-4 on their West Coast road trip.

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