Red Sox Short Hops: Game 3
Lester's uncharacteristic outing puts Boston in 2-1 hole
Fielding the Red Sox's 9-1 loss to the Rays in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series on a short hop ...In < 25 words ...
The Sox never got going, and the Rays made Jon Lester pay for his steady diet of fastballs, as Boston fell behind, 2-1, in the ALCS. Frozen moment
Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis made a great backhanded stop in the fifth inning, and sensing he couldn't get Carlos Pena at first base, Youkilis faked the throw to first and got B.J. Upton at second. The Rays' lead runner, Upton was caught making a wide turn, and Youkilis' heads-up play kept Tampa Bay from extending its early lead.
4 -- Runs the Rays scored on Lester in the third inning. Not only did the four runs break Lester's postseason streak of 24 2/3 consecutive innings without an earned run, they also set up the lefty's quick exit. Lester's 5 2/3 innings marked his shortest stint since Sept. 2.
The feisty second baseman continued to swing a hot bat, going 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. Pedroia went just 1-for-17 in the AL Division Series but has gone 6-for-11 with two homers in the ALCS.
Lester suffered his first home loss since April 9, and he wasn't his usual ace-like self. Although the lefty fanned seven, he allowed eight hits and five runs (four earned).
Big Papi went 0-for-4 and joins Jacoby Ellsbury and Jason Varitek as Red Sox players with a .000 ALCS average.
Sense of October
Trailing, 5-0, after five innings, the Fenway faithful could be heard booing their home team. The Red Sox stranded six men in the first five frames and gave the sellout crowd little to cheer about.
3 AB, 2 H, 2B, 1 BB
Comment: Pedroia did his job by getting on base three times in front of the Red Sox's power hitters. Unfortunately, the AL Most Valuable Player Award candidate didn't deliver when the Sox needed it most, grounding into an inning-ending double play in the seventh.
3 1/3 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 H, 2 K
Comment: With his club in a 5-0 hole when he took the mound, Byrd didn't do the Red Sox any favors. The right-hander made a pair of big mistakes, giving up a Rocco Baldelli three-run homer in the top of the eighth and a Carlos Pena solo shot in the ninth.
"He hasn't gotten any hits. This series has been a very tough series up to this point. I've been around David long enough to know that can change with one swing of the bat, and that's part of having guys like David that can change a game with one swing. The other team still has to respect that, even when they're not swinging like they're capable." -- Francona, on Ortiz
Tim Wakefield, who was not part of the Sox's ALDS rotation, will take the mound in a pivotal Game 4. He enters the mix against a Rays team he has dominated throughout his career, going 19-5 with a 3.32 ERA in 41 appearances. However, Wakefield wasn't as strong against Tampa Bay this season, going 0-2 with a 5.87 ERA in three starts.
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.