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Lackey's return, Iglesias' homer highlight loss for Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox prospect Jose Iglesias, who has been trying to prove for a couple of years that he can hit at the Major League level, clubbed a game-tying two-run homer over the Green Monster in the bottom of the seventh inning on Saturday at JetBlue Park.

"As we've commented on him as camp has unfolded, he's a little bit more upright, he's more free in his overall swing and he got a fastball up in the zone and he did what he's capable of doing," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Iglesias. "I think, more than anything, it's just the freeness and the aggressiveness."

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It was the first burst of offense for the Red Sox in their Grapefruit League opener, but it wasn't quite enough in a 4-3 loss to the split-squad Tampa Bay Rays.

For the Red Sox, John Lackey returned to the mound for his first game action since undergoing Tommy John ligament transfer surgery at the end of the 2011 season.

"I kind of took a second before I went on the mound, on the bench, and just reflected on the past year and a half and it's been a lot of work and I've got to thank a lot of trainers, a lot of people that helped me get back to this point. I was excited to be back out there," said Lackey.

The slimmed-down righty minimized the damage after loading the bases with nobody out in the first, allowing just one run in his inning of work.

Lackey gave up a hit, a walk and a strikeout while hitting a batter and throwing 20 pitches -- 10 of them for strikes.

No sooner had Iglesias knotted the game up than the Rays went right back in front in the top of the eighth.

In a matchup of non-roster invitees, Leslie Anderson belted a two-run homer to right against Oscar Villarreal, putting Tampa Bay ahead for good.

Up next: Lefty ace Jon Lester will make his first start of Spring Training on Sunday afternoon (1:05 ET) in Jupiter against the Cardinals. Setup man Andrew Bailey and closer Joel Hanrahan will also make the trip. Pedro Ciriaco, Iglesias, Daniel Nava and Ryan Sweeney will be among the position players on hand. Top prospects Jackie Bradley Jr. and Deven Marrero will see action as well.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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