Lackey extends streak; homers pace Sox, 6-4


Lackey extends streak; homers pace Sox, 6-4

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

SEATTLE It might be difficult to fathom, but John Lackey is riding a six-game winning streak thats shot him all the way up to a team-high 11 wins on the season.

Both Lackey and left-handed ace Jon Lester hold 11 wins for the Sox this season, but theyve arrived on equal footing by enduring much different routes.

It wasnt easy and it certainly wasnt baseball aesthetics 101, but Lackey trudged through six plus innings and battled until his offense scrambled to secure a 6-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.

The big blow was a majestic Josh Reddick homer into the right field faade in the top of the sixth inning that bestowed the Sox with their first lead of the night, and also snapped Reddick out of a 1-for-14 funk at the plate. With a two-run lead in hand, Lackey and a team of Sox relievers gutted out the last three innings to preserve a much-needed victory for an AL East team thats again streaking in August.

Lackey was knocked around for four runs and 10 hits in his six plus frames, but he also executed a couple of really important things when it comes to winning. Lackeys bend-but-dont-break pitching style allowed the Sox to hang around in the game, and he was highly effective over his final couple of frames once he was handed the lead.

Lackey left a jam in the top of the seventh, but the combination of Franklin Morales and Daniel Bard quieted the Mariners right down not exactly a great baseball achievement when the Ms entered the game hitting .229 as a team.

It looked early on like this would be the night where things went bad again for Lackey after a nice little ride during the last six weeks. The Ms offense singled Lackey to death in the first two frames and actually plated three runs while stringing together six hits and two walks before six outs were recorded.

But Seattle never managed to get the one big break to force things wide open, and then couldnt touch a Sox bullpen thats again looking rested and relaxed after a brief bout with pitching fatigue.

Instead the Sox chipped away with solo homers by David Ortiz in the second inning and Jed Lowrie batting left-handed in the fifth frame that kept them within a single run of the Mariners. Reddicks home run finally pushed the Sox ahead, and it all ended with Jonathan Papelbon cutting the Ms down for his 27th save of the season.

Player of the Game: Josh Reddick snapped out of a 1-for-14 mini-funk by jumping all over a Blake Beavan fastball in the top of the sixth inning and launching it into the right field scoreboard faade under the Hit it Here Caf. Reddicks two-run blast gave the Sox their first and only lead of the night, which they managed to protect through the final three innings for the victory. Reddicks 25 RBI on the season place him among the top five rookie producers in the AL this season. On a day when J.D. Drew took live batting practice, Reddick made sure to show up big in a game his team looked destined to lose.

Honorable Mention: Mike Carp is probably the punch line to more than a few jokes around baseball as the cleanup hitter for the Seattle Mariners, but he did everything possible to deliver the Ms a victory. He came through with run-scoring hits in the first and fourth innings, and singled again in the seventh for his third hit of the night while his Ms teammates attempted one last rally.

The Goat: Justin Smoak the young slugger stranded five Mariners runners in his first two at bats when the Ms had a teetering John Lackey on the ropes, but failed to step on the Sox righty when his team had him reeling on the mound. Smoak then added injury to the insult when a Jarrod Saltalamacchia one-bounce hot shot kicked up and hit him in the left side of his face and fractured his nose. Smoak had to leave the game after taking the ball in the face, and with no judgment on his individual toughness at all once again proved the monumental toughness chasm between baseball players and hockey players when it comes to playing through paininjuries.

Turning Point: The Seattle Mariners stranded six runners in the first three innings when John Lackey was hemorrhaging base runners on the mound, and could never separate from a Red Sox team that just kept hanging around. The Sox never had the lead, but they never let Seattle separate either. Eventually Josh Reddick stung the Mariners pitching staff with the two-run blast, and the Ms had nobody to blame but themselves for missing multiple chances for an early round knockout against Lackey and his ballclub. Seattle left a whopping 11 guys on base in the loss.

By the Numbers: 36-22 with the road win against the Mariners, the Red Sox tied the Philadelphia Phillies for the best road record in Major League Baseball this season with a .621 winning percentage.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic


Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.

Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.

Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.  

Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.  

Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic


Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.

Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014. 

Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners. 

Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014. 

Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.