PAWTUCKET, R.I. (AP) -Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester pitched five scoreless innings Tuesday night in a rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket.
Lester allowed four hits, walked two and struck out six. He threw 50 of his 79 pitches for strikes. He left with a 4-0 lead but Columbus rallied for a 5-4 victory.
``Early on I struggled with my mechanics and had to battle through a couple of innings but as the game went on everything got a little tighter and a little better,'' said Lester, cancer-free since December after undergoing chemotherapy to treat lymphoma.
``We want to get better every start and get the pitch count up. This time it just happened to be the curveball that worked well. Next time, it may be the changeup or the fastball.''
In his previous start, on May 24 against Syracuse, Lester was prohibited from throwing his cut fastball because Boston's medical staff felt it might have contributed to cramping in his forearm that he suffered May 2 against Indianapolis.
``I threw two of them tonight and felt fine,'' Lester said of his cutter. ``I'm sure they'll increase the numbers as we go on.''
Mike Timlin (shoulder tendinitis) made his third relief appearance during his current 30-day rehab assignment and allowed one run and three hits with a walk in one inning.

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