Lackey appreciates offensive support


Lackey appreciates offensive support

By Jessica Camerato 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!JCamerato

Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia homer in Mariners' 5-0 win over Red Sox


Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia homer in Mariners' 5-0 win over Red Sox

BOSTON (AP)  Christian Bergman rebounded from a miserable start with seven shutout innings and the Seattle Mariners halted Boston's season-high six-game winning streak with a 5-0 victory over the Red Sox on Sunday.

Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer and Guillermo Heredia a solo shot for the Mariners, who averted a three-game sweep with just their second win in nine games. Seattle was shut out the first two games.

Bergman (2-2) allowed four hits, walked two and struck out two. He got a lot of help from his infielders when they turned a double play in each of the first four innings.

Three relievers completed the combined five-hitter, with closer Edwin Diaz getting the final three outs despite two errors by infielders.

Bergman was tagged for 14 hits and 10 runs over four innings in a loss his previous start.

Rick Porcello (3-6) gave up 11 hits, but only two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Seattle finished one off its club record for most double plays turned in a game.

After being shut out for the first 21 innings of the series, the Mariners moved ahead 1-0 in the fourth when Kyle Seager raced home from third after Porcello bounced a pitch that went over catcher Sandy Leon's right shoulder and onto the screen. Seager had doubled leading off and advanced on Danny Valencia's single.

Heredia homered over the Green Monster in the eighth and Cano sent his into the center-field bleachers an inning later.


Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, had another bullpen session Sunday because he wasn't happy with one a day earlier.

Red Sox: Manager John Farrell said 3B Pablo Sandoval, out since late April with a sprained right knee, will stay on his rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket to get his "timing going" with more at-bats.


Seattle sent Saturday's losing pitcher, RHP Rob Whalen, to Triple-A Tacoma and brought up RHP Ryne Harper from the same club.

The Red Sox also made moves with pitchers, sending Saturday's winner, lefty Brian Johnson, to Triple-A Pawtucket and promoting RHP Blaine Boyer for a day. Boyer will go back down Monday when ace David Price is activated.

Boyer made his Red Sox debut, retiring the only two batters he faced.


Mariners: RHP Sam Gaviglio (0-1, 1.38 ERA) is set to make his third major-league start when they open a two-game series Monday at Colorado. RHP Tyler Chatwood (4-6, 4.50) is scheduled for the Rockies.

Red Sox: LHP Price makes his season debut Monday in Chicago against the White Sox after being sidelined since early spring training with a strained left elbow.


More AP baseball coverage:

Brian Johnson admits he almost retired one year ago due to anxiety

Brian Johnson admits he almost retired one year ago due to anxiety

Brian Johnson almost called it a career at age 25 -- just one year before he went on to throw a complete game shutout at Fenway Park.

He finished Saturday's 6-0 win over the Mariners with eight strikeouts and five hits allowed. To get on the mound at Fenway, he had to overcome a serious bout with anxiety and depression. Things came to a head roughly a year ago.

"At that point in time, I was ready to hang 'em up," Johnson told Mike Giardi and Rob Bradford on WEEI radio Sunday. "I wasn't happy, wasn't sleeping through the night, woke up in cold sweats. I just wasn't happy."

But when things got most challenging, Johnson asked for help, which made all the difference, he explained. He broke down on the phone with his father, and discussed all of the issues he'd been struggling with. Then he spoke on the phone with Red Sox mental skills coach Laz Gutierrez, who helped him game plan to fight against his anxiety and depression. Baseball was one of Johnson's problems, and he was considering cutting it out of his life.

"Yes, there were thoughts in my head where I was like, 'What else would I do with my life?'" Johnson said. "I don't think it was baseball. I mean, yes, I would be lying if I didn't say it was that. I think it was a lot of things. Where I was at in my life, I was only a baseball player, and people only saw me as a baseball player. I was just letting everything build up. I think it stemmed all from when I hurt my elbow. I didn't have any feeling in my hand."

He began to worry about whether the feeling in his hand would disappear during his starts. He'd knock his funny bone and the feeling would be gone. That was only one manifestation of his anxieties.

"I just felt like there microscope on me 24/7," he said, "and that's kind of what let's your mind play tricks on you.'

He added: "If I didn't say anything, I don't think there's any chance I'd be here playing baseball. And it is taboo. I always thought -- the reason it took me so long was because, if I say something, they're never going to trust me again. 'How is he able to perform if he's having anxiety and depression problems.' . . . And lo and behold, I think I have more trust now that I said something."

Johnson just kept getting back on the field by throwing one inning at a time until he started having fun again. Fast forward to Sunday, Johnson has two starts for the Sox for a 2.57 ERA with a 1.07 WHIP and 14 strikeouts in 14 innings. He has also posted a 2.82 ERA in seven starts and 44.2 innings pitched in the minors.

But some unfortunate news followed his moment of triumph against the Mariners on Saturday. Johnson is heading back down to Pawtucket. The Sox optioned him with David Price rejoining the rotation.

"I would have loved to stay," Johnson said. "But I'm happy to do what they want me to . . . It stinks I'm getting sent down and optioned. But like I told John (Farrell) and like I told Dave (Dombrowski), 'I'm just going to keep working hard. Whenever you guys need me, I'm ready.'

Johnson said he wasn't riding a high of confidence after his excellent outing. He's keeping a level-head, and approaching the game the same way he did before his complete game. But he did admit he had a particularly special moment Saturday. After the game, his dad congratulated Johnson with a hug on the field at Fenway.

Johnson said: "That was the moment I was probably most grateful for everything."