BRADENTON, Fla. — Jon Lester said he felt the best he has mechanically “in a long time” during his start against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday.
The scoreboard did not reflect that, however. Lester was tagged for four runs on eight hits and lasted only three innings. He walked two, struck out one, and threw 80 pitches.
“To waste it is bad,” Lester said. “But I guess that’s the positive from today. I was able to really repeat some things we’ve been working on.”
Lester can afford to dismiss one game in March. He was named the Opening Day starter earlier in the week and his work against the Pirates quickly will be forgotten.
But he was still rankled at the idea of getting knocked around.
“I’m a competitor and I want to win, Lester said. “I don’t care if it’s on a back field in Minnesota or if it’s at Fenway. I always want to do well and win and get the results that I feel I’ve put the work in for. This is not something I take lightly, even through it’s in spring training.
“I don’t think there’s anything we need to address. I felt really sound and in good position when I threw the ball. Just that little bit under it with my fastball. Instead of being at the knees I was at the thigh.”
Trailing, 4-1, the Red Sox got a two-run home run from Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the fourth inning, an RBI double from Adrian Gonzalez in the fifth, and a home run from minor leaguer Mauro Gomez in the seventh.
Saltalamacchia was 1 for 13 before going 2 for 3 with a double and the home run.
The lead did not last long as Andrew Bailey gave up a two-run homer to Nate McLouth in the bottom of the seventh.