If Daniel Nava had gotten to Mark Reynolds’s second-inning line drive while it was still in flight, he knew Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy would tag up from third base and make a break for home plate.
So Nava charged the ball hard to prepare to catch it and make the throw, only to realize he was not going to get there in time.
As the Red Sox right fielder tried to pull up and field the ball, it skipped under his glove and off his leg.
Lucroy scored and Nava’s miscue allowed Khris Davis to score from first, giving the Brewers their first two runs in a 4-0 victory Sunday to finish the three-game sweep at Fenway Park.
“Things are just a little tougher as far as the ground is harder, and normally, I felt as if I was going to be stopping and have enough time to catch the ball, and I obviously didn’t,” Nava said. “I need to take that into mind and I didn’t do a very good job of that. It’s part of me understanding the elements.”
Two batters later, Nava bounced back and made a tough catch on a foul ball hit by Jeff Bianchi, as he raced to the line and reached into the stands to record the out.
However, Nava’s hiccup in the second inning underscored what was ultimately a sloppy outing for the Red Sox, who committed two errors and several other misplays to spoil Jon Lester’s solid outing.
The lefthander went 7⅓ innings and gave up four runs, only two of which were earned. After Reynolds’s line drive, Lester (0-2) retired the next 16 batters.
But Lester was done in by the second inning.
After Lucroy’s leadoff double, Davis surprised the Red Sox with a bunt that was placed precisely between third baseman Jonathan Herrera and Lester.
Herrera hesitated and looked as if he was going to hold at third in case there would be a throw to the bag, before he charged for the ball.
By then it was too late and he didn’t have a play anywhere. Lester said he didn’t think he could have thrown Davis out if he had gotten to the ball first.
Herrera, who filled in at third for the second straight game in place of an injured Will Middlebrooks, said he was playing behind the base when Davis bunted.
“It’s hard sometimes to see what they want to do because the scouting report and some other guys said they don’t bunt,” Herrera said. “Then when they bunt, they surprise everybody.
“[Davis] doesn’t show them to bunt, so I played the way I was supposed to. But we need to be aware because they surprised everybody.”
Herrera learned his lesson.
In the seventh inning, with a run in and runners on first and third with two outs, Carlos Gomez tried another bunt.
This time, Herrera made a terrific play, charging the ball and fielding it barehanded before throwing out Gomez to end the inning.
In the eighth, the Brewers took advantage of some more Red Sox sloppiness. With one out, Ryan Braun singled and stole second. Catcher David Ross sailed the throw into center field, allowing Braun to advance to third. Aramis Ramirez singled him home for the final run.
Braun also benefited from some less-than-stellar defense in his first at-bat. He grounded a ball into the hole between shortstop and third that Xander Bogaerts failed to come up with.
Braun was awarded a hit on the play, but Bogaerts was mad at himself for not getting to it. Since he was ranging to his right, it was a play he said he normally would’ve backhanded, but he thought he had enough time to get in front of it.
“I thought I could get to it and at the last moment I noticed I couldn’t, and instead of going to the backhand I tried getting in front of it,” Bogaerts said. “It’s a ball I should’ve caught and next time I’ll get it.”Anthony Gulizia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @gulizia_a.