ST. LOUIS -- Mere moments after Brock Holt grounded out to first to end Boston's 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night, Jon Lester's perfect game against the Minnesota Twins ended when Kurt Suzuki singled to open the sixth.
As if the Sox needed another reminder how much things have changed in the 283 days since Lester stood on the Busch Stadium mound and outdueled Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright in the pivotal Game 5 of the World Series.
Wainwright was here for an encore appearance against the Sox on Thursday night, but instead of facing Lester, he was facing Sox rookie Brandon Workman, an undertaking of a slightly different magnitude.
Workman pitched out of the bullpen against the Cardinals last October and is now trying to go to the head of a class of young pitchers trying to persuade Sox decision-makers they warrant a spot in the 2015 rotation.
He graded out no better than a C on Thursday night, allowing four runs on six hits and a couple of walks in 5⅓ innings.
The lesson learned from this outing? He has to do a better job in the first inning, which has been a repeated problem this season.
Workman gave up three runs in the first Thursday night, which wasn't quite the same as running up the white flag against Wainwright, but close. In 10 of his 23 starts this season, the Cardinals right-hander has held the opposition scoreless for seven innings or more.
Workman, meanwhile, has now allowed 12 earned runs in the first inning of his 10 starts, which works out to a 10.80 ERA. A leadoff walk (Matt Carpenter), single (Kolten Wong) and double steal put him in an immediate hole, which he almost escaped before Jhonny Peralta launched a two-out, two-run gap double. Cardinals rookie Oscar Taveras singled to make it 3-0.
The Sox cut the deficit to a run by scoring twice on four singles in the third, the one inning in which they made Wainwright labor. Holt and Dustin Pedroia opened the inning with hits, and singles by Mike Napoli and Christian Vazquez brought them home.
Wong, however, took care of the rest of the night's offense with solo home runs, one off Workman in the fifth, one off Craig Breslow in the seventh. It was the first multihomer game of his career and finished off a night in which the Cardinals scored all five of their runs with two outs.
Wainwright made the last pitch of his night count, striking out Yoenis Cespedes with two on to end the seventh.
Puddles KO Papi: David Ortiz was in the original lineup but was scratched because of heavy rains, manager John Farrell not wishing for Ortiz to play first base on a wet track. Ortiz pinch hit in the eighth and lined out. The start of the game was delayed 64 minutes.
Beaten-down Breslow: This has been a tough season for the Sox lefty, who turns 34 on Friday. He has now allowed home runs in each of his past three appearances -- the Cardinals said Wong's home run off him traveled 423 feet. There's a reason that Breslow is the only one of the Sox lefties in the pen a week ago -- Felix Doubront, Andrew Miller, and Breslow -- who is still here after the trading deadline.
Beaten-down Bradley: Jackie Bradley Jr, went 0-for-3 and is now hitless in his past 27 at-bats.