Saturday, August 13, 2011

Red Sox Rally For Win In Seattle

AP/Ted Warren

Red Sox 6 Mariners 4
Winning Pitcher: John Lackey (11-8)
Losing Pitcher: Blake Beavan (3-3)
Save: Jonathan Papelbon (27)

Despite a horrid start from John Lackey, the Red Sox were able to stay in the game, and use some late runs to push ahead and take game one of their series in Seattle. The rally started in the top of the fifth, with the Red Sox trailing 4-2. The lead off hitter for the inning was Jed Lowrie, who blasted his fourth homer of the year into the right field bleachers. The homer was his first since April 20th, and his first all year as a left handed hitter. In the next inning, with Boston trailing by a run, Jarrod Saltalamacchia started the inning by hitting a solid base hit into left. Next up was Josh Reddick, who absolutely crushed a ball off of the scoreboard hanging over the right field bleachers. After bunching his first four homers into a three week period, the go-ahead blast on Friday night was just his second long ball since July 18th, and his third and fourth RBI of the month of August. In order to get a little insurance, the Red Sox turned to a little small ball. After the seventh started with an Adrian Gonzalez double off the center field wall, Dustin Pedroia moved him over to third by dropping the sac bunt. It was the first time Terry Francona has ever called upon his cleanup hitter to sacrifice as Red Sox manager, and the first time any number four hitter has done so for Boston since Ellis Burke in 1990.
Although he got the win, John Lackey looked far from sharp on Friday night, and a better offensive team would have likely made him pay more than four runs for his horrid start. Lackey started off the game by quickly allowing a double, single and walk to load the bases without recording an out. Seattle cleanup hitter then knocked in the game's first two runs with a base hit through the middle, and Lackey looked to be in serious trouble. However, Jacoby Ellsbury saved a run with a big running catch on a ball that carried as deep as Safeco will allow. Lackey was able to get out of the inning with just the two runs. In the next inning, he loaded the bases again, this time with one down. Dustin Ackley ripped a single into left, but hit it too hard to score more than one run, and Lackey wouldn't allow another run in the inning after that. After the inning, he settled down a bit, allowing just one more run in the fourth. He ended up lasting 6+ innings, allowing 4 runs on 10 hits, 2 walks and 3 strikeouts, as well as tossing two wild pitches. (Although, in my mind, Saltalamacchia should have stopped both). Lackey continues to prove Francona's old adage of being able to keep the team in games true, although, as I said before, a better team would have knocked him out of this game in the first two innings.

Quick Hits
  • David Ortiz also hit a solo blast in the second inning for Boston's first run. In the month of August, the DH is hitting .350 (14-40) with four homers and eleven RBI.
  • Ho-hum another scoreless 9th for Jonathan Papelbon. In high leverage situations this year, Papelbon is holding batters to a triple slash line of .207/.235/..280.
  • Seattle first baseman Justin Smoak was knocked out of the game after a Jarrod Saltalamacchia ground ball bounced up and fractured his nose. Also, Kevin Youkilis was a late scratch due to a hurt back.

The Red Sox and Mariners continue their series tonight at 10:10 PM ET. Boston will send Josh Beckett (9-4 2.17) to the mound against Seattle's Felix Hernandez (10-10 3.31).

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