CHICAGO -- Jon Lester’s teammates would not let him go down to defeat without putting up a fight.
Down 5-0 after two innings, Lester having served up a three-run home run to White Sox strongman Adam Dunn in the first and three two-out doubles that produced two more runs in the second, the Red Sox put the leadoff man on base in each of the last four innings and brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth.
But White Sox closer Addison Reed, after being greeted with a single by Mike Napoli to start the ninth, allowed the Sox to draw no closer, although not without an anxiety-producing moment for Chicago manager Robin Ventura. Reed struck out Daniel Nava, then watched as Will Middlebrooks launched a drive that died on the warning track in the center. First baseman Paul Konerko then made a sprawling stop of Stephen Drew’s ground ball and flipped to Reed to end it.
Reed was credited with his 15th save of the season.
Lester lost for the first time in 10 starts as he was unable to become the first Sox left-hander to open a season 7-0 since Rogelio Moret won his first 10 decisions in 1973. All six runs he allowed came after two were out.
Ells has no pull: Jacoby Ellsbury’s miserable trip continued, as he grounded to second base on all four of his plate appearances, once for a double play. Ellsbury is batting just .125 (3-for-24) on this road trip, and this is a ballpark in which he traditionally hits well. He came into the game batting .325 in the Cell.
Ellsbury has had little success this season when he has pulled the ball. He’s 6-for-41 (.146) when he pulls to the right side. In his breakout season, 2011, he batted .462 (72-for-156) when he pulled the ball.
Victorino departs early: After beating out an infield single in the sixth, Shane Victorino returned to his position in the bottom of the inning but decided he could not go on. The Red Sox announced during the game that Victorino had tightness in his left hamstring. Nava moved from left to right, with Jonny Gomes finishing the game in left.
Pedroia extends streak: Dustin Pedroia’s infield single in the fourth extended his hitting streak to 11 games. He went 1-for-4 Monday night and is batting .449 (22-for-49) during the streak.
Double the pleasure for Will: Middlebrooks hit his 12th double Monday night, driving in two runs, giving him seven RBIs in eight games on the trip. But the third baseman also was charged with an error and was unable to glove two balls down the line that went for doubles.
Drew back: Shortstop Stephen Drew was back after being kept out of two games with back stiffness and had a busy night afield, handling nine chances. He walked and scored a run, flied out to the track in left and was called out on strikes.