By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
BOSTON - The Milwaukee Brewers opened Fridays game against the Boston Red Sox with two quick runs off John Lackey in the top of the first inning.
Then the Red Sox stepped up to the plate and showed the Brewers, anything you can do I can do better.
In the Red Sox' first at-bat of the evening, Jacoby Ellsbury knocked a homerun out to right field off Shaun Marcum. Later in the inning, David Ortiz hit a double to right that scored Adrian Gonzalez, erasing the Brewers' lead and tying the game at two apiece.
Playing even is a lot better than trying to battle back, said Terry Francona following the Red Sox' 10-4 win, adding, Right off the bat, were back in the game with Ellsburys homerun. I think its huge. We followed it up, got the other run, and were playing even. I thought that was really important.
When Marcum left after just one inning with a strained hip flexor, the Red Sox took advantage of the Brewers early call to the bullpen. They had already worked 44 pitches out of their starter, and they werent going to take it any easier on their bullpen either.
The Red Sox followed up with another two runs in the second inning, and after the Brewers responded with a pair of their own in the third, the home team took over. The Red Sox scored six runs over the course of the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings for a commanding victory.
You want to get the bats going early and put pressure on them, said Gonzalez. I think the 44-pitch inning was big. And then he came out after the first and you get guys that are not used to throwing that many innings and that many pitches, you wear them down and youre able to score more runs that way.
He continued, The more pressure you can put on the opposing pitcher, the more guys you can have on base, the more opportunities you create, the better it is. We just did a really good job tonight.
By putting pressure on the Brewers pitchers, the Red Sox took some off of their own. Lackey pitched eight innings despite giving up four early runs. The offensive support from his teammates helped him stay focused on his job.
I think the biggest thing is that we came back with two runs after I gave up two runs, he said. It kind of reset the game. Thats huge. If he goes out there and throws up a zero, the momentum kind of gets on their side. But for our guys to come back and answer, the first couple runs definitely was a big factor.
In the end, the Red Sox won with a total team effort - four players recorded doubles; Ellsbury and Gonzalez homered; Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew contributed a pair of RBI; and Gonzalez and Ortiz had three hits apiece.
Its fun to pitch here, for sure, when guys are swinging the bats, said Lackey. Thats one thing you can hang your hat on when youre out there. You give up a couple runs, hang in there because the boys are coming. They can really swing it.
Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCamerato