Bats finally give Lackey some backing

Bats finally give Lackey some backing
September 7, 2013, 7:45 pm
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NEW YORK -- For the last two months, John Lackey has received scant run support. It's been Lackey's misfortune to be the starting pitcher on six occasions when the Red Sox have been shutout.    

On Saturday, finally, Lackey got more support than he could have ever hoped. Turns out he needed it, too.    

Lackey picked up just his second win of the second half by pitching 5 2/3 innings and allowed a season-high seven runs on eight hits.    

But because the Red Sox had built an 8-3 lead for him, Lackey was able to walk away with his ninth victory of the season.    

"It was fun, for sure,'' said Lackey after the Sox had won their fourth in a row, 13-9. "It was nice. The boys picked me up today. They swung the bats great. They've been swinging the bats great the whole series. It's fun to watch when they get rolling like that.''   

Indeed, the Sox had scored 41 runs in the previous three games and the joke before Saturday was that the offensive explosion couldn't continue with Lackey on the mound.    

But it somehow did. A two-run homer by Mike Napoli in the second presented him with a 2-0 lead. A three-run-shot from Jonny Gomes in the third upped the advantage further. And five more in the fourth effectively put the game away.    

So much for that theory.    

"(Craig) Breslow was joking with me, saying 'Not even Lackey can stop our offense today,' '' said Lackey. "That was a pretty good line.''    

But armed with a big lead, Lackey began letting it slip away. The Yankees scored single runs in the second, third and fourth and in the sixth, two walks from Lackey helped lead to a big inning, with four more runs charged to Lackey.    

"I tried not to change (with the lead),'' said Lackey. "I just didn't pitch that great. It didn't have anything to do with them scoring a bunch of runs or the waits (in between innings), that sort of thing. It was just one of those days.''    

"I think he finally had a lead and he pitched a little bit more relaxed,'' said Farrell, "and I don't want that to sound like he was trying less or less focused, but there wasn't the pressure on every pitch like we've seen the last 10 starts or so when he hasn't gotten any runs.    

"But you know what? He deserved one of these today.''