Closing Time: Cody Ross returns to help sink Red Sox

Scott McLaughlin
August 02, 2013 - 6:46 pm

The magic wasn'€™t quite there Friday night. The Red Sox twice came back from a two-run deficit in their series-opener against the Diamondbacks, but they ultimately dropped a 7-6 decision. Former Sox outfielder Cody Ross '€“ who created a bit of a stir earlier in the day when he told WEEI that the Sox lied to his face during contract negotiations '€“ led the way for Arizona, going 4-for-5 with three extra-base hits, including the go-ahead home run in the seventh. David Ortiz tied the game at 2-2 with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first, and a pair of sacrifice flies in the second gave the Red Sox a 4-2 lead. But Jon Lester couldn'€™t make it stand up. The Diamondbacks got one back in the third, then chased Lester from the game with four hits and three runs in the fifth. The Sox saved Lester -- who gave up six runs on 11 hits over 4 1/3 innings -- from getting the loss by tallying another two-run homer in the sixth, this one courtesy of Stephen Drew. The tie was short-lived, though, as Ross led off the seventh with a blast into the front row of the Monster seats. One of the Sox' best chance to tie the game came in the seventh, when Shane Victorino doubled with one out. But then Dustin Pedroia flew out to right and David Ortiz popped out to third to end the threat. The Sox started to mount yet another ninth-inning comeback, with Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury putting runners on first and second with one out via a pair of singles. But after a Victorino fly out to left field, Arizona closer Brad Ziegler managed to barehand Pedroia's grounder back to the mound and throw in time to end the game. WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX - Lester got off to a tough start and never really settled down. He gave up three hits and two runs in a 26-pitch top of the first, surrendering a single to Aaron Hill, a two-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt and a double to Ross. Lester threw just 10 pitches in the second, but still allowed two hits in the inning. He then needed 25 pitches to get through the third, allowing another run in the process. The up-and-down performance continued with a 1-2-3 fourth followed by a three-run fifth in which he allowed three doubles. Friday night marked a big step back for Lester, who had strung together three straight quality starts entering the night, with a 2.29 ERA during that span. The 11 hits were the most Lester has allowed since May 20, 2011. - Ross had himself quite the return to Fenway. The former Sox outfielder went 4-for-5 with a home run, two doubles, a single and three RBIs. He doubled in the first, singled and stole second in the third, doubled again in the fifth, then homered in the seventh. Ross made headlines earlier in the day when he told WEEI that the Red Sox '€œlied to my face'€ during contract negotiations last year. He said he made it clear that he wanted to stay in Boston, but said the two sides couldn'€™t agree on the years. Ross, who was one of the few bright spots on the 2012 team, received a smattering of applause before his first at bat Friday night. - Pedroia'€™s recent hot streak came to an end with an 0-for-5 performance. Pedroia had snapped an 0-for-16 slump in a big way against Seattle, going 5-for-14 with two home runs and seven RBIs in the series. WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX - In addition to the two-run homer from Drew, the Sox also got two runs from the bottom of their order in the second. Daniel Nava reached on an error to start the inning and Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled off the monster. Drew followed with a sacrifice fly to center that plated Nava and moved Saltalamacchia to third. Then Brock Holt registered a sac fly of his own that brought Saltalamacchia home. Of course, the bottom of the lineup has also been the source for the Sox'€™ recent heroics. Drew had the walk-off single on Wednesday, while Nava took the honors on Thursday. Going back further, the Sox have now gotten 17 RBIs from the bottom four spots in their order over the last seven games. Drew has led the way with nine during that span. - Speaking of Holt, the rookie made a nice play at third in the top of the sixth. Hill ripped a one-hopper at Holt, but he was able to make a nice pick and throw out Hill. - Ortiz belted his 21st home run of the season in the bottom of the first, a two-run shot to center that tied the game at 2-2. Ortiz has now reached base in 16 straight games and 37 of his last 39. Unfortunately for the Sox, Ortiz struck out his next two times up, then popped out to end a scoring threat in the seventh.