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

Mookie Betts' injury likely just a short-term issue

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Mookie Betts' injury likely just a short-term issue

BOSTON -- After leaving Friday night’s game with right knee soreness, structural damage has been ruled out regarding Mookie Betts, but he could still be out for a bit.

Testing was done on Betts’ knee, removing any doubt of a deeper issue, revealing it was just build-up of fluid, causing swelling in his knee.

“Day-to-day is the status. It may take a couple for him before he’s back to us.” John Farrell said. “Everything points to this being a short-term situation.”

Betts explained that his condition had improved from Friday night, but -- much like Farrell -- doesn’t know how quickly he can bounce back. He wouldn’t make a definitive statement on whether or not he’d be available Sunday.

“It feels pretty good now,” Betts said. “We’re going to do some treatment on it, make sure everything is good and hopefully get back out there.”

Betts joins the list of pivotal players unavailable in Saturday’s game, including Craig Kimbrel and Koji Uehara who are both on the DL.

Farrell couldn’t commit to a timetable for when he expects Uehara should be back, but hopes he’ll be available during the regular season.

“We’re hopeful of that,” Farrell said when asked if he thought Uehara would be back before the postseason. “There’s no number of day’s that says Koji’s going to put a ball back in his hand . . . To give you a time frame, it’s too early to tell.”

Kimbrel, on the other hand, has bounced back well, and is expected to throw his first bullpen Sunday or Monday. The hope is that he’ll throw twice off the mound before the trip to the West, which would set him up for a simulated game.

“We need to get some PFP involved -- just some change in direction, fielding the position,” Farrell said on Kimbrel. “But in terms of amount of time missed, and that fact that he’s able to as get aggressive right now in long toss. I would think it would be on the shorter end of appearances if it’s even more than one. He feels very good. If he wasn’t making the ultimate decision medically [he’d] probably say ‘Give me the ball tonight.’ That’s how good he feels -- that’s encouraging.”

 

Saturday's Red Sox-Twins lineups: Betts out with knee soreness

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Saturday's Red Sox-Twins lineups: Betts out with knee soreness

Mookie Betts is out of the lineup Saturday after leaving the game Friday night with knee soreness and Brock Holt moves into the leadoff spot for the Red Sox in Game 3 of their four-game series with the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park.

Manager John Farrell said Betts is day-to-day after the right fielder left the Red Sox' 2-1 loss in the fifth inning with pain in his right knee. There is swelling, but an MRI showed no structural damage.Michael Martinez will start in right on Saturday night. Betts had started in 93 of Boston's 94 games this season. 

Aaron Hill gets the start at third base for the Red Sox in place of Travis Shaw.  

Left-hander David Price (9-7, 4.36 ERA) makes his second start of the second half for the Red Sox. Price took the loss in a 3-1 defeat against the Yankees on Sunday night, allowing 11 hits and three runs in 5 2/3 innnigs. 

Right-hander Ricky Nolasco (4-8, 5.02) is on the mound for the Twins.

The lineups:

TWINS
Eduardo Nunez SS
Robbie Grossman DH
Miguel Sano 3B
Brian Dozier 2B
Max Kepler RF
Kennys Vargas 1B
Eddie Rosario LF
Kurt Suzuki C
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Ricky Nolasco RHP

RED SOX
Brock Holt LF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Aaron Hill 3B
Sandy Leon C
Michael Martinez RF
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David Price LHP

Farrell: Betts ‘day to day’ with sore knee

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Farrell: Betts ‘day to day’ with sore knee

BOSTON — Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts left the game against the Minnesota Twins in the fifth inning on Friday night with soreness in his right knee.

Manager John Farrell said after game that Betts' had recently had "some treatment" for the knee and it has been something the team has monitored since the All-Star break. The Red Sox announced after Betts left the game that he was considered day-to-day. 

Betts, who led off the game with a home run for the second consecutive night, was replaced in right field by Michael Martinez in the top of the fifth. 

Betts, an All-Star Game starter, leads the Red Sox with 127 hits and is second on the team with 20 home runs and 63 RBI.

Associated Press material included in this story.