Most baseball analysts think Jon Lester will emerge as one of the best pitchers in the league this year.

His start yesterday against the Tampa Bay Rays took a sharp left turn. And it wasn’t in the right direction.

Lester was rocked for five runs including a two-run shot by Carlos Pena in just five innings pitched. Lester suffered his first loss of the season and first against Tampa Bay in his career (4-1).

Pena who struck out five straight times to start the season launched a two-run homer in the fifth inning giving the Rays a comfortable 5-1 lead.

Grant Balfour closed the door in the ninth, a 1-2-3 inning, for his first save of the season.

Goat of the Game – Lester

Lester was far from sharp in his first outing yielding eight hits in just five innings pitched with two walks to his credit as well.

The loss also snapped Lester’s 16-game regular-season unbeaten streak at home. He last lost at home in the regular-season against the Detroit Tigers on April 9.

Next Game – Thurs. 4/09 vs. Tampa Bay Rays – Daisuke Matsuzaka/Matt Garza

Dice-K, in his career, is 2-3 against the Rays with a 3.75 ERA (20 ER, 48.0 IP) in eight games started against Tampa Bay.