Lackey: 'It was fun to pitch' in 14-1 victory

Lackey: 'It was fun to pitch' in 14-1 victory
July 21, 2014, 11:45 pm
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(USA Today Sports Images)

TORONTO -- When the offense explodes for 14 runs on 18 hits -- including four homers -- it's easy to overlook the effort of that night's starting pitcher.

But on the mound, John Lackey did his job, too. Did he ever.

Lackey pitched seven innings and allowed just two hits -- consecutive doubles in the third inning, which accounted for the only run scored by the Toronto Blue Jays in a 14-1 shellacking by the Red Sox.

As it turned out, those were the only two baserunners who reached against Lackey. He faced 21 other hitters and retired each one of them.

Of course, his task was made easier by the fact that he had a 2-0 lead by the time he took the mound in the bottom of the second and a 6-0 lead by the time he went out for the third inning.

"Obviously, the guys swung the bats great tonight,'' said Lackey, who improved to 11-6. It was a fun night. It's kind of fun to have one of these every now and then. The season can be a little bit of a ground sometimes, but with the guys swinging the bats like that, it was fun to pitch tonight.''

Lackey seldom walks hitters -- he didn't issue a base on balls all night -- and armed with an early lead, he could attack the Toronto lineup.

"Toronto, they're an aggressive-swinging team,'' said John Farrell. "He stayed to two-strike locations pretty much right from the get-go in every at-bat.

He was able to get some early outs and a clean seven innings of work from him.''

Pitching aggressively, Lackey could focus on throwing strikes, inducing contact and getting his teammates off the field and up to the plate again.

"That's all I was trying to do,'' said Lackey. "The way we were swinging the bats, I was trying to get some quick outs and try to get those guys back in (the dugout) and keep swinging the bats, keeping them in their rhythm.''

Lackey was at just 76 pitches after seven innings and certainly could have easily tossed a complete game. Instead, Farrell wanted to get some work in for two little used relievers -- Felix Doubront and Craig Breslow.

"It gets back to the offense scoring so many runs,'' said Lackey. "You definitely don't want to walk guys with that kind of run support. I was throwing it in there and they were hitting it at people. They're definitely a team that likes to swing the bat, for sure.

"Once you get ahead, you don't want to go throw it down the middle because they've got some good hitters. But you definitely want to throw strikes and make them earn stuff.''