DENVER -- A funny thing happened on the way to a Red Sox rendezvous with Ubaldo Jimenez, the irresistible force versus the immovable object.
The Sox were waylaid not by Dominican right-hander Jimenez -- he pitches Wednesday -- but by 22-year-old Venezuelan rookie right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, who combined with three Rockies relievers to beat the Sox, 2-1, before a sellout crowd of 48,112 in Coors Field.
The Sox averted their fourth shutout of the season when Adrian Beltre doubled and scored on Mike Cameron’s broken-bat single through the left side. Terry Francona sent two pinch-hitters to the plate in an effort to win it. Bill Hall batted for left-handed Josh Reddick because he was batting .500 against reliever Matt Belisle. He flied out to right.
The game came down to Mike Lowell, who hadn’t appeared in a game in nine days and has 16 at-bats in a month. Lowell was MVP of the 2007 World Series, when the Sox swept the Rockies in four straight. This time he hit a smash to the shortstop hole, but shortstop Clint Barmes made a diving stop and threw him out.
Boston’s six-game winning streak came to an end. They had averaged just under seven runs a game in their previous 10 games (69).
Jon Lester, who hadn’t lost in 10 starts dating to April 23 (8-0, two no-decisions), took the loss, his night cut short when he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh with two outs and the bases loaded. David Ortiz grounded out to second against lefty Joe Beimel to end the threat.
The Sox also left the bases loaded in the third, when Victor Martinez grounded out to second against Chacin, who in 2008 led the minor leagues in wins with 18 and can throw four pitches, including a nasty change-up. The Sox had two singles and two walks in the inning but failed to score, as Mike Cameron, who led off the inning with a base hit, was cut down on his first stolen-base attempt of the season.
Colorado’s only run off Lester came in the fifth on a walk, single and two-out base hit by Rockies graybeard Todd Helton. They added a run in the eighth on three hits, the last two a pop-fly into short center and a bad-hop single over the head of shortstop Marco Scutaro.