Boston Red Sox

Wet and wild: Lackey can't handle Padres

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Wet and wild: Lackey can't handle Padres

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Follow @dannypicard
BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; John Lackey wouldnt come out and say it himself. Herealizesit would sound like he was making excuses.

But after a 38-minute rain delay with two outs in the top ofthe third inning, Lackey was all over the place as he allowed four runs in the top of the fourth.

There were four rain delays at a soaked Fenway Park oon Wednesdayafternoon, totaling 2 hours and 24 minutes. Lackey was caught up in the seconddelay, and seemed to lose something when he hit a soggy mound in the fourth.

He went back out after the rain delay, and it just lookedlike he lost his feel, said manager Terry Francona after Bostons 5-1loss to the San Diego Padres in a game shortened to 7 12 innings because of the rain. I dont think the conditionswere very good for either pitcher. But he just lost his command and it cost ussome runs.

Obviously he didnt have a real good feel. You could tell.He hit a lefty with a breaking ball. He was scattering some pitches.

Lackey loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth. Hewalked Orlando Hudson, hit Anthony Rizzo, and then gave up a bunt single toCameron Maybin. After striking out Nick Hundley, Lackey walked in a run andthen hit Jason Bartlett with a pitch high in the shoulder, which scored anotherrun, giving the Padres a 3-0 lead.

It didnt get any better from there, as Lackey then threw awild pitch high and outside that scored San Diegos fourth run. He followedthat up by allowing an RBI single to Chase Headley, making it 5-0 and endinghis day.

Still, Lackey didnt come out using the conditions as anexcuse several hours later. But he did hint that they affected him.

I dont think Ive ever hit anybody with the bases loadedbefore, said Lackey during a brief, contentious postgame press conference.

When later asked about his grip on the ball being a possibleissue, Lackey said, I dont know. You guys are going to write what you want towrite. Whatever.

It will be written that Lackey lost the game during a fourthinning which saw him as wild as a pitcher can be.

But it will also be written that Lackey allowed a leadoffhome run to Will Venable in the top of the first, which gave the Padres anearly 1-0 lead.

After that, and before the delay, Lackey seemed to settle down.

He got ahead right away and then left a cutter over theplate to Venable, and then was throwing strikes, said Francona. I thoughthe was throwing the ball very well actually.

And while Lackey wouldnt come out and openly admit that theweather played a role in his sixth loss of the season, others made sure theydid for him.

I thought he threw the ball well, other than the one pitchhe made to Venable, said Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. He was throwing theball well.

It definitely was wet and it was obvious that you lose yourfeel. He had a fastball that shot away from him, lost some changeups. Couldntquite figure out what was the best pitch to get him in the zone in thatsituation.

It was obvious in that inning, it was sloppy out there,added Varitek. It was even hard for me throwing balls back to the mound. Itwas that entire game. Thats a tough one for him to have to wear, because hehas been throwing the ball well.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Red Sox move closer to AL East title with 5-0 win over Reds

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Red Sox move closer to AL East title with 5-0 win over Reds

CINCINNATI - Mitch Moreland ended his long slump with a three-run homer, Eduardo Rodriguez pitched three-hit ball into the eighth inning, and the Boston Red Sox took another step toward a second straight AL East title, beating the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 on Saturday.

Boston has won 13 of 16, holding off the Yankees as it tries to win back-to-back East titles for the first time since divisional realignment in 1969. The Red Sox have their best record of the season at 90-64, reaching 90 wins for the second year in a row.

They remain four games in front of the Yankees, who beat Toronto 5-1.

Moreland was in an 0-for-19 slump when he connected off Robert Stephenson (5-6) in the sixth inning, his 20th homer of the season but only his second in September. The Red Sox are last in the AL with 160 homers.

Rodriguez (6-6) has given up two or fewer earned runs in each of his last four starts, the best stretch of his career. The left-hander gave up three singles and two walks in 7 2/3 innings, his longest outing since May 21.

The Red Sox have shutout victories in three of their last four games, including two at Baltimore. They are 7-1 on a trip that ends Sunday. Boston wraps up the regular season at Fenway Park with three games against Toronto and four against Houston.

Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who grew up in suburban Madeira and had hundreds of relatives and friends in the stands for the series, singled home a run in the seventh at the ballpark where he regularly attended games as a youth.

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Betts (foot), Pedroia (knee) out of Red Sox lineup

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Betts (foot), Pedroia (knee) out of Red Sox lineup

Mookie Betts, who fouled a ball off his left foot Friday night, and Dustin Pedroia, who has been bothered by a knee injury almost all season, were out of the Red Sox lineup Saturday against the Reds in Cincinnati.

Chris Young started in right field for Betts and Brock Holt at second base for Pedroia.

Betts was scratched from the original lineup but was a late scratch. Pedroia, who had been getting intermittent days off to rest his knee was originally expected to play but needed treatement and hopes to be able to play Sunday, according to Scott Lauber of ESPN. 

Manager John Farrell told reporters, including Christopher Smith of MassLive.com, that Betts "was hindered by it last night in the second half of that game. [He] woke up a little bit more sore. Went through treatment. But felt it was best to give him a day to fully recover and get some additional treatment."

The manager added that Betts was available to pinch hit Saturday and did not have X-rays, but that step could be taken if there's no improvement in the next 24 hours.