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Red Sox Spring Training 2012: Jon Lester's Tough Start Sinks Sox Against Pirates

The Red Sox fell to the Pirates 6-5 Wednesday afternoon as Jon Lester's spring struggles continued.

After working around three hits between the first two innings, Lester would fall apart spectacularly to start the third. Allowing a ground-rule double to the first batter he faced, three straight singles scored a pair of runs before a single out was recorded. It would only get worse, however, as Matt Hague grabbed hold of a flat pitch and sent it out of the park to left, scoring just two more thanks to a baserunning mistake by Casey McGehee on the previous play.

With Lester already out of the game after just three innings, the Sox' bats had their work cut out for them, but proved up to the task at first. Already a run had scored in the second when Josh Kroeger singled home Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who had gone to the opposite field for a double. Then again in the top of the fourth it was Saltalamacchia getting things done, taking Kevin Correia deep to right after Adrian Gonzalez' double to pull within a run at 4-3.

The Sox would tie the game in the next inning, with Gonzalez picking up his second double to send Kevin Youkilis homeward, and then even take the lead on a seventh inning homer from Mauro Gomez. The bullpen, unfortunately, would not prove up to the task of keeping said lead. With Andrew Bailey taking the mound in the bottom half of the inning, one bad pitch would undo the offensive effort. A ground ball single would set up Nate McLouth for the big hit: a home run to right field that put the Pirates on top once and for all.