Sox bats quiet for Lester again in loss to Brewers
BOSTON -- Three games into their home schedule and the Boston Red Sox matched their worst losing streak in Fenway Park for the entire 2013 season.
Yovani Gallardo made his second straight scoreless start and the Milwaukee Brewers completed a three-game sweep of the Red Sox with a 4-0 victory Sunday.
"Obviously things can change quickly," Boston outfielder Daniel Nava said. "You can say, ‘You didn't lose four in a row,' but four can turn into 12. [The] 2012 [season] didn't have anything to do with 2013, so one season doesn't mean anything to the next."
The World Series champion Red Sox, who never had a losing record last year, fell to 2-4 and matched their longest skid -- home or away -- of 2013. They were swept just once last season, in a three-game series against the Texas Rangers from May 3-5. The Rangers open a three-game set against Boston in Fenway on Monday.
Last year's consistent play came off a last-place finish in the AL East the prior year, when the club traded stars Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett in a salary-dump deal to the Los Angeles Dodgers in August before firing manager Bobby Valentine at the end of the season.
For the second time in two starts, Jon Lester (0-2) was the tough-luck loser.
In Boston's opener, he allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings, but the Red Sox lost 2-1 at Baltimore. On Sunday, he gave up two earned runs in 7 1/3 innings.
"I can't control that. I felt like I got into a good rhythm. I just tried to keep the guys in the game," Lester said, standing in the middle of a quiet clubhouse. "I know our hitters are up there grinding out at-bats. The effort's there. Obviously they don't want to not get any runs on the board. It is what it is. You obviously have to worry about pitching and putting zeroes up on the board."
Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts hopes the Red Sox can reward Lester in his next start.
"It's two outstanding games he's pitched," he said. "It's really tough on him. Hopefully the next time out we'll help him a lot more."
The Red Sox couldn't score against Gallardo (2-0), who pitched six innings in Milwaukee's 2-0 win over the Atlanta Braves in the season opener, and have lost their first three home games for the first time since 1984.
Gallardo allowed seven hits, walked none and struck out three in 6 2/3 innings as the ERA for Brewers starters dropped from 1.99 to 1.66. None of them has allowed more than three runs in a game this season.
The Brewers got all the runs they needed in the second.
Jonathan Lucroy led off with a double and took third on a bunt single by Khris Davis. Mark Reynolds then singled in front of Nava, scoring Lucroy. And when the ball got by Nava for an error, Davis scored and Reynolds took second.
Then Lester settled down, retiring 15 straight batters before Davis doubled with one out in the seventh. Reynolds walked, Lyle Overbay struck out and Jeff Bianchi singled in Davis, making it 3-0.
Davis went 2 for 4 after getting four hits in a 7-6 win in 11 innings Saturday night, when he scored the winning run after his double.
The Red Sox threatened in the seventh after Gallardo retired the first two batters. Jackie Bradley Jr. doubled and took third on an infield single by David Ross. Zach Duke replaced Gallardo and ended the threat by retiring Nava on a fly to center.
The Brewers made it 4-0 in the eighth on an RBI single by Aramis Ramirez off Edward Mujica.
Boston manager John Farrell challenged a call for the first time this season, but replay showed umpire Tim Timmons was correct in calling Bradley out on a close play on a ground ball in the second.
Ryan Braun reached on an infield single with two outs in the first, ending a 0-for-14 slump, but was stranded. He singled again in the eighth, stole second, took third when catcher Ross' throw went into center field and scored when Ramirez singled.