SCORE: Phillies 4, Red Sox 1
BREAKDOWN: After winning five of their last six games, the Red Sox couldn’t muster much vs. Phillies lefthander Cliff Lee, who pitched five scoreless innings. Jon Lester threw four innings and allowed one run, but Burke Badenhop allowed three runs in the fifth inning. The Red Sox threatened in the first inning when Grady Sizemore and Dustin Pedroia were on base with singles, but were stranded. Jonny Gomes broke Boston’s drought with a home run in the seventh inning.
THUMBS UP: Lester was sharp after a shaky first inning when he allowed a leadoff single to Ben Revere and an RBI double to left field. He said he was working on fastball command. He threw 68 pitches and seems poised toward at least 80 pitches in his next start. Lester seems on track to be Boston’s Opening Day starter. Chris Capuano threw three scoreless two-hit innings with two strikeouts as he continues to nail down a bullpen spot. Dustin Pedroia went 2 for 3, including a double to center that was misplayed by Revere.
THUMBS DOWN: Badenhop allowed four hits and three earned runs in one inning, and while he didn’t get hit hard, the Phillies capitalized on him. Xander Bogaerts went 0 for 3 and is now hitting .130, while David Ortiz went 0 for 3 and is hitting .080.
MEDICAL REPORT: Shane Victorino returned to the lineup after missing Friday with discomfort in his surgically repaired thumb and went 0 for 3, but said he came out of the game feeling OK. Will Middlebrooks missed his second game with a hyperextended finger, but is expected to be in the lineup Sunday vs. Tampa Bay. Manager John Farrell said that lefthander Craig Breslow, who hasn’t pitched because the team wants him to ease into action after an overload of innings last season, will start to face live hitters later this week and should be on schedule to start the season.
AROUND THE BASES: Sizemore was 1 for 4, and played eight innings in center field. It was the longest Sizemore had played in a game this season. He ran awkwardly down the line a couple of times and didn’t exhibit the speed he has shown in previous games, but Sizemore said afterward, “I felt good. I didn’t think much of it. It was just another game. I’ll be back here tomorrow and take it from there.” Sizemore, who has thrust himself into the center field conversation, said, “For me it’s more about getting myself into baseball shape, play every day, and build off of these days. I’m not trying to turn heads or force decisions, I’m just trying to build.” . . . The crowd was announced at 9,726, a sellout.
NEXT GAME: The Red Sox travel to Port Charlotte to face the Rays in a 1:05 game. The game will be broadcast on NESN.