Lackey outstanding in 4-0 Red Sox win
Fans stood and cheered John Lackey only five days after another
Fenway Park crowd booed Boston’s struggling starter following his
worst performance in a Red Sox uniform.
”It was nice,” he said with little emotion.
The 10-year veteran struggling through his second season with
Boston took the cheers in stride, just as he did his best outing of
the year – a 4-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles in which he allowed
three hits in 6 2-3 innings on Saturday night.
”There’s a fine line between good and bad,” Lackey said. ”My
arm felt about the same as it did in the last start,
It followed a stint of 2 1-3 innings in which he allowed seven
runs in a 9-7 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. His velocity was about
the same, but his improved location gave the Orioles trouble.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona was pleased with the fans’ change
of heart toward Lackey.
”Our fans are dying to show their appreciation,” he said. ”I
know they boo sometimes. They care about their team.”
Lackey lowered his ERA from 7.47 to 6.84 and ended his
three-game losing streak. The Red Sox won their fifth straight game
and ninth in their past 10.
”He has a pedigree of pitching pretty well,” Baltimore manager
Buck Showalter said. ”He hasn’t done it much, but he did
Alfredo Simon (1-2) allowed three runs in the fifth on an RBI
double by Kevin Youkilis and a two-run double by Josh Reddick.
Youkilis added another run-scoring double in the seventh off
Boston maintained its one-game lead in the AL East over the New
York Yankees, who beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4.
The Orioles, last in the division, suffered their sixth straight
loss and 11th in 12 games.
”I was just trying to keep the game close,” Simon said. ”I
think I did a good job with all of my pitches. I’m happy with the
way I pitched.”
Lackey got a standing ovation as he strode to the dugout when he
was replaced by Daniel Bard with two outs and runners at first and
second in the seventh. They were stranded when Nolan Reimold popped
out to shortstop Marco Scutaro.
Bard then struck out two in the eighth, extending his streak to
18 1-3 scoreless innings. But he was left off the AL team for
Tuesday’s All-Star game.
”If Daniel Bard’s not (an All-Star) nobody is,” Francona said.
”I know the rules are what they are, but he’s some kind of
Lackey struck out seven and walked one the day after Boston’s
10-3 win in which the benches cleared twice in the eighth inning,
the first after Kevin Gregg’s inside pitch to David Ortiz and the
second after Ortiz charged Gregg when the pitcher gestured at him
as he started down the first-base line on a fly out.
Both punched at each other, but failed to connect
Ortiz apologized on Saturday ”to everyone for the situation.
… Even to Gregg.”
Lackey hit two batters on Saturday. Nick Markakis went directly
to first after being hit in the sixth. With two outs and no runners
on in the seventh, Lackey hit Derek Lee below his left hip. Plate
umpire Jeff Nelson warned both benches.
The Red Sox didn’t need Ortiz’s actions Friday to spur them on,
Lackey said, but ”it might have made us a little closer.”
Simon, a former closer making his first start since April 14,
2009, fell behind 3-0 in the fifth after retiring the first
”He just couldn’t hold that offense off forever,” Showalter
Jacoby Ellsbury then tripled but was out at home on a hard
grounder to Simon by Dustin Pedroia, who took second. After an
intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez, Youkilis doubled in the first
run. Ortiz also was walked intentionally, a move that backfired
when Reddick hit his two-run double.
In the seventh, Pedroia stretched his hitting streak to 11 games
with a leadoff double and scored on Youkilis’ double.
The Orioles managed just four singles – three against Lackey,
one off Bard and none off Jonathan Papelbon, who worked the
NOTES: The Red Sox hit no homers after getting eight in the
first two games of the series. … Simon is the 24th Baltimore
starter in the last 25 games to last fewer than seven innings. …
In Sunday’s finale of the four-game series, RHP Kyle Weiland is
scheduled to make his major-league debut for Boston, while
Baltimore RHP Mitch Atkins makes his second major-league start. …
The Orioles called up LHP Hendrickson from Triple-A Norfolk and
sent LHP Zach Britton to Double-A. Britton allowed eight runs in
the first inning of Boston’s win on Friday night, becoming the
third Orioles pitcher since they moved to Baltimore in 1954 to give
up at least eight runs without making it out of the first. The
others were Hayden Penn on Sept. 3, 2006, and Victor Zambrano on
Sept. 26, 2007.