Lackey dominant, sinks Mariners, 7-4

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Lackey dominant, sinks Mariners, 7-4

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON The Red Sox pounded Felix Hernandez for five runs in the seventh inning at Fenway Park Friday night, breaking open what had been a one-run game until then, on their way to a 7-4 win. It was the Sox 15th win in 18 games, and the Mariners 13th straight loss.

John Lackey picked up the win, evening his record at 8-8 with a 6.28 ERA. He went seven innings, allowing one run on eight hits with no walks, four strikeouts and a wild pitch.

Hernandez had never before lost at Fenway. He entered the game with a record of 3-0 (1.49) in five previous starts, but took the loss, going 6 13 innings, giving up six runs on 11 hits and four walks with two strikeouts. He falls to 8-9 with a 3.47 ERA.

Leading by a run heading into the seventh, the Sox batted around in the inning, with two runs scoring on Adrian Gonzalezs single to center and another two on Kevin Youkilis single to left, aided by an error from Mariners left fielder Mike Carp.

Franklin Morales came in for the eighth, giving up a three-run homer to Carp, before Daniel Bard came in with two outs and a runner on to close the door.

Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: John Lackey
Lackey needed 22 pitches to get through the first inning, when he gave up a run on three hits. But he settled down after that to pick up the win, improving his record to 8-8 with a 6.28 ERA. Lackey went seven innings, giving up one run on eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts, against the Mariners who have lost 13 straight and have not scored three or fewer run in nine of those games.

I thought he was tremendous, said manager Terry Francona. He threw strikes. Even the hits he gave up he was ahead in the count.

The Mariners scored when Ichiro Suzuki singled on Lackeys first pitch of the game, stole second on the second pitch, stole third on the third pitch, and scored on Dustin Ackleys one-out single to left. But that was all the damage the Ms could do against Lackey.

Lackey won his third consecutive start, the second time he has put together a three-start win streak this season and the first time since 2008 he has had two such streaks in a season.

Since Aug. 19, 2006, while with the Angles, he is 9-2 with a 2.34 ERA in 13 starts against the Mariners, while his teams have gone a combined 11-2 in those games.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jacoby Ellsbury
Ellsbury continues to stay white-hot, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. His solo homer leading off the third inning, his 16th of the season, gave the Sox a one-run lead until they broke through for five runs in the seventh.

He looks great, said Dustin Pedroia. Hes ready to hit. Hes driving the ball. Hes having the year like he had a few years back before he got hurt. I dont think anybodys surprised. Hes a great player.

Ellsbury, who had two homers on Wednesday in Baltimore, now has seven in July, the most hes ever hit in a month.

THE GOAT: Felix Hernandez
With the Sox holding a slim one-run lead going into the seventh, Hernandez allowed them to blow the game open with five runs. He went 6 13 innings, allowing six runs on 11 hits and four walks with two strikeouts and a home run. It was his shortest outing since pitching five innings on May 11 in Baltimore. It was his fewest strikeouts since picking up two on Aug. 1, 2009, at Texas. It was the most walks hes allowed in his last six outings, and more than he had allowed in his previous three starts.

Hernandez lost at Fenway Park for the first time in six career starts, and lost to the Sox for just the second time in his career. He has not earned a win in five starts since his last win on June 24 against the Marlins. In those games his team has given him a total of seven runs of support and no more than two in any game.

We found some holes, said Dustin Pedroia. Its not like we were lighting the place up. Hes got great stuff, and we got a couple ground balls that found some holes and we got a big hit. Thats basically it. Thats how you beat a pitcher like that. He doesnt get hit around that much because his stuff is so great. So we were fortunate to win.

THE TURNING POINT
With Lackey struggling in the first inning, giving up a first-pitch single to Ichiro Suzuki, a second-pitch stolen base, and a third-pitch stolen base, the Mariners could muster just one run in the inning. Lackey needed 22 pitches to get through the inning. Justin Smoak struck out with runners on first and third to end the inning. With a first-pitch temperature of 96 degrees, the Mariners unable to drive up Lackeys pitch count and workload, the Sox right-hander was able to regroup between innings and settle into a groove. He allowed no runs and just five hits over his next six innings.

STAT OF THE DAY: 60
The Sox now have a record of 60-37. With their 60th win coming in their 97th game, it is their fastest season to 60 wins since 1979, when they did so in 95 games. The only times the Sox have reached 60 wins at an earlier date were July 19, 1912; July 17, 1946; and July 16, 1978.

QUOTE OF NOTE:
I know his ERA is high. At the end of the year itll probably be higher than we want but if he pitches like this its not going to matter. -- Terry Francona on John Lackeys 6.28 ERA

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Sunday's Red Sox-Rangers lineups: Boston needs the good Buchholz to show up

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Sunday's Red Sox-Rangers lineups: Boston needs the good Buchholz to show up

Clay Buchholz hopes ot lead off the afternoon game better than his last start, where he game up a home run and double to leadoff the game against Chicago.

The righty has a career 4.10 ERA against Texas in 41.2 innings pitched against Texas with a 1-5 record.

Unfortunately for Boston, Buchholz is even worse at Globe Life Park. The righty is 0-3 with a 5.82 ERA in 21.2 at the Rangers home field.

The lineups:

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 3B
Sandy Leon C
Ryan LaMarre LF
---
Clay Buchholz RHP

RANGERS
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Ian Desmond CF
Nomar Mazara LF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Prince Fielder DH
Roughned Odor 2B
Elvis Andrus SS
Mitch Moreland 1B
Bryan Holaday C
---
Martin Perez LHP

Quotes, notes and stars: Wright "today was tough"

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Quotes, notes and stars: Wright "today was tough"

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 10-3 loss to the Rangers:

 

QUOTES

* “On a night when he didn’t have the consistency to the knuckleball that we’ve seen from many of his starts, he went to his fastball a little bit more. [Against] a good fastball hitting team . . . He’s typically made good adjustments staying over the rubber to get his release point out front -- that wasn’t the case [tonight].” John Farrell said about Steven Wright struggling with his knuckleball in his 4.2 inning outing.

* “The ball was spinning a lot out of my hand. It was a little bit hard to grip the ball because the humidity. But it was the opposite -- it was real sticky. That’s the first time I’ve had that ever. But I still felt like I should have figured that out. It was one of those things where I think I started trying to hard . . . I was trying to the throw the kitchen sink at them but it wasn’t working.” Steven Wright said about struggling to find his knuckleball in the 10-3 loss.

* “It’s hard for me because you want to go out there and try and go as deep as you can to try to help the bullpen, but, you know, today was tough, a tough day for me.” Wright said on his disappointment with only going 4.2 innings.

 

 

NOTES

 

* Hanley Ramirez laced his fourth homerun in his last 11 games. In his nine career games at Texas, Ramirez has six homeruns.

* David Ortiz went hitless for the first time since June 12th. Boston’s designated hitter also hasn’t hit a home run since June 17th -- his third longest homerless spell of 2016.

* Xander Bogaerts scored his 57th run of the season, putting him one run behind Ian Kinsler -- the fourth highest total in the majors.

 

 

STARS

 

1) Adrian Beltre

The ex-Red Sox third baseman finished 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk -- scoring the team high three runs.

 

2) Ian Desmond

Desmond laced his 13th homer of the season in his second at-bat of the game, sparking Texas’ offense with its first run of the game.

 

3) Elvis Andrus

Andrus ended Steven Wright’s day quickly with a three-run triple in the fifth inning, finishing 1-for-2 with two walks and a run.

First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 loss to Texas

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First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 loss to Texas

First impressions of the Red Sox 10-3 loss to Texas:

 

Steven Wright can’t be stellar every night.

Although it’s seemed like it lately, it’s just not possible -- especially with a knuckleball.

He wasn’t even that bad Saturday night. He just didn’t get any help from his defense in the fifth frame.

But there’s no denying he didn’t have his best stuff. But whatever the reason, he couldn’t find consistent command or movement from his knuckler and he gave up some hard hits as a result.

Did he receive a fate worse than he pitched? Yes. But what Boston saw from Wright in his Saturday start is there will be times his go-to pitch is off -- and there’s really no way to work around that.

 

Hanley Ramirez’s “timing issue” seems to be coming around.

Although he hasn’t necessarily caught fire, Ramirez hit another home run -- once again to right field.

He’s shown more patience at the plate, and not trying to pull every ball out of the yard.

Ramirez doesn’t have everything completely figured out, but his homeruns have been plenty valuable at this point.

 

Ian Desmond is no joke.

The newly converted centerfielder is 5-for-10 against Boston pitching this series with a run and two RBI.

The ex-Nationals shortstop has good pop and good speed still. He seems to be a lot more comfortable in his new home after hitting .233 for Washington last year with 19 homeruns -- hitting his 13th Saturday night.

 

For all the criticisms Boston’s bullpen has received, the Rangers’ is definitely worse.

Although there wasn’t the same miraculous comeback witnessed Friday night -- and Boston’s pen wasn’t particularly stellar in the loss -- the Ranger relievers did not look good in the second game of the series.

They put themselves into deep counts right away -- and was lucky Boston’s offense was off.

Boston’s bullpen has its faults -- no question -- but it’s not nearly as bad as the one in Texas.

 

The Red Sox unfortunately have to rely on Clay Buchholz Sunday.

The bullpen is beaten down once again. The righty is still fighting for his job, so this would be the best time for him to pitch competitively into the sixth inning -- and maybe even longer.