The Red Sox won two of three against the Toronto Blue Jays, but failed to record the sweep with Sunday's 7-1 loss. Jon Lester was roughed up for four runs and five hits in seven innings to absorb the loss. He struck out seven and issued no walks in falling to 2-4.
"Once again (Lester) worked deep into the ballgame and gave us an opportunity to win," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He has been the one guy in our rotation where runs are a premium and are seemingly hard to come by."
Lester has given up seven earned runs in the past two starts.
Xander Bogaerts had two hits and Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in Boston's lone run in the top of the second inning. David Ortiz did not play Sunday and is expected back in the lineup tonight.
Boston is still a respectable 7-5 in the last 12 games and will also host Oakland and Cincinnati on the upcoming homestand. The Red Sox went 3-4 on a recent homestand from April 18-24.
John Lackey looks to build on his recent performance when he takes the mound for Boston Tuesday. Lackey struck out 11 batters and did not issue a walk through eight innings of one-run ball in last Wednesday's 5-1 win over the New York Yankees.
Lackey, who had surrendered six runs in each of his previous two outings, improved to 3-2 in five starts and lowered his ERA to 4.22. The right-hander will make his 22nd career start against the Rays and is 12-7 with a 4.39 ERA in the first 21 starts.
Tampa Bay will resume its 10-game road trip Tuesday and opened the trek by losing three out of four meetings with the Chicago White Sox. In Monday's 7-3 loss at U.S. Cellular Field, the Rays led 2-0 until Chicago rallied to take the lead for good.
Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi was dealt the loss for giving up four runs in 4 1/3 innings to go with five strikeouts and two walks.
Ben Zobrist and Desmond Jennings each had two hits and a run scored, as the Rays lost for the fifth time in six tries. Zobrist has reached base safely in 23 of his 26 games and has scored 19 runs.
"They beat us fair and square," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of the White Sox. "You just have to give them credit. They played well and they beat us."
Tampa Bay is scheduled to visit the New York Yankees this weekend and will send Erik Bedard to the mound at Fenway Park Tuesday. Bedard is 0-1 with a 7.45 earned run average in three games (2 starts) and lost to Minnesota the last time out in a 9-7 loss on Thursday. He gave up four runs in five innings.
Bedard, a left-hander, has a 5-5 record and a 4.68 ERA in 14 career games, 13 of which have been starts, against the Red Sox.
Boston went 12-7 against the Rays last season after splitting 18 meetings the year before.