CLEVELAND -- Jon Lester blowing a five-run lead for the first time in his career had competition for the worst development to befall the Red Sox Thursday night.
* Doctors announced they’d found a fifth fractured rib for outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, one they are saying occurred independent of the four ribs he fractured in his collision with Adrian Beltre on April 11. Ellsbury, who has played just nine games this season, was sent to Arizona for what is being called “several weeks” of rest and rehabilitation. That pretty much takes him to the All-Star break and would suggest the Sox might be looking for more outfield help. (Here’s a name: Rick Ankiel, who just went out on rehab assignment for the Royals because of an injured quadriceps but should be back soon.)
Click here for more on Ellsbury.
* First baseman Kevin Youkilis left Thursday’s game with what was called a back spasm. He’s had spasms before and usually recovers quickly.
* Manager Terry Francona allowed that just maybe Dustin Pedroia’s right knee, which he twisted while being tagged out at the plate on May 15 in Detroit, is an issue after all.
Pedroia, who had two hits Thursday after going hitless in his previous dozen at-bats in Cleveland, acknowledged before the game that his knee hurt and that he still was having treatment.
Asked if the knee is responding to the treatment, he said: “It doesn’t matter. I’m just not getting hits. I’ll be all right. I’ll be all right. It’s a game of [streaks], man. I’ll just keep playing.’’
Since the play in Detroit, Pedroia is batting .189 (18-for-95). Two big-league scouts at Thursday’s game said they did not detect any obvious way in which Pedroia’s sore knee might be impacting his at-bats, and his play in the field has been impeccable. The only game he has missed since then was the day after hurting the knee.
But for Pedroia even to admit that his knee hurts is a pretty good indication that something is amiss.
“You know what makes him good, which is the drive and the determination -- he wants to carry the club, that’s why he’s good,’’ Francona said. “I think sometimes after that first at-bat, he’s feeling the night before. Again, his knee’s probably bothering him more than he lets on. Guys get banged up. He’s a good player, and he’s playing. I think we all feel he’ll help us win. Kind of like what I used to say about [Jason Varitek]. Tek can go 0-for-4 and we can still win. I think we all feel that way about Pedey.
“We’d certainly love to see him get the four hits, but when he doesn’t hit, he finds ways to help us win.’’
Francona said that he urged Pedroia to ice after games, but that Pedroia doesn’t like ice. “He said, ‘Ice works backward on me -- you know I’m different,’’’ Francona said.
“He might be taking -- what’s that stuff they give rats?’’
Pedroia, upon hearing Francona’s take on his treatment, shook his head. “He’s an idiot,’’ he said.
* Lester, who had been 30-0 in games in which the Sox scored six or more runs, was overpowering early, striking out four of the first six batters he faced. But the Indians touched him for three runs in the third on four hits, including a couple of bloops, and three more in the sixth, two scoring on Lou Marson’s jam-shot single.
“Tough,’’ he said. “Obviously very.
“Five-nothing lead, and I didn’t get the job done. Kind of a funny game. Probably the best I’ve felt all year and just overthrew some balls, didn’t locate within the zone. Yeah, they didn’t square up a lot of balls, but I had to do a better job.’’