Lackey not focused on run support


Lackey not focused on run support

By Jessica Camerato

BOSTON - Losing is frustrating enough for the Boston Red Sox, but when they dont come through with run support for their pitchers, that only adds to it.

On Saturday, John Lackey (2-3, 5.65 ERA) threw 113 pitches over six innings, giving up just two runs, seven hits, while recording three strikeouts. His efforts were all for naught, though, as the Red Sox (11-15) went 0-for-11 with men in scoring position in their 2-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners (13-15).

After the game, Lackeys teammates were carrying the responsibility for failing to produce run support.

We just didnt score any runs for him, said Kevin Youkilis. He threw the ball great and we just came up short offensively. Its a shame that we couldnt get enough runs for him and get him a W, but weve just got to keep battling and tomorrows another day.

Lackey said he was able to locate his breaking ball well but did not have the same fastball command as he did in his previous outing, a win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Ichiro Suzuki scored the first run of the game in the third inning off a double to left by Milton Bradley. Later in the sixth, Jack Cust scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Jack Wilson.

I felt pretty good, Lackey said. I made some pitches. The first run, had a ball hit right on the line on me, and the shift kind of got me on the second run (Cust's leadoff single was a routine grounder to the left side that got through to the outfield because the Sox infielders were overshifted to the right on the left-handed-hitting Cust). What are you going to do?

Terry Francona relieved Lackey after the sixth inning and was impressed with his performance.

On a lot of nights, were commending him for not giving in and throwing his breaking ball behind the count and getting back in the counts, but we didnt do anything offensively, he said. He wanted to stay out there and I thought he was effective. I just didnt want to get in a position where we dont have many days off so weve got to keep the starters on track.

Lackey is staying focused on his job at hand and not worrying about his teammates. He has confidence in the players around him and believes they can take care of business on their own.

Im not going to comment on all that, he said when asked about the runners left in scoring position. Weve got a lot of guys with a lot of good track records on the offensive side I think will get going. As pitchers, weve just got to keep handling our business. Weve got enough to worry about on our own.

In the meantime, his teammates will try to do what they can to help.

Thats John Lackey, said Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Thats the guy that goes out there and just battles. Thats what he did tonight. He pitched his butt off and I just wish we could have got that win for him.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba

Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays


Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth career grand slam to help Rick Porcello get his major league-leading 22nd win, and the Boston Red Sox clinched a playoff berth by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 Saturday night for their 10th consecutive win.

Boston maintained a 5 1/2-game lead over Toronto for the division title and ensured no worse than the AL's second wild card. While the Red Sox technically have a magic number of one, the Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles play each other three times in the season's final week - meaning only one of them can win match Boston's 91 wins.

Among the other wild-card contenders, only Detroit can reach 91 victories.

Pedroia stopped an 0-for-17 skid with a single in the sixth and gave Boston a 6-3 lead with a seventh-inning drive off Danny Farquhar.

Porcello (22-4) gave up three runs, eight hits and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings. He just missed getting his 12th consecutive start of seven or more innings and three runs or fewer, which would have moved him past Cy Young (1904) and Pedro Martinez (2000) for the longest stretch during the same season in franchise history.

Craig Kimbrel, the fifth Boston reliever, reached 30 saves for the sixth straight season despite allowing Logan Forsythe's solo homer in the ninth.

Brad Miller hit a two-run double in a three-run second that put Tampa Bay up 3-1 and gave him 80 RBIs.

Tampa Bay threatened in the second but failed to score due to two nice defensive plays. Pedroia made a throw from just in front of the outfield grass at second base on Mikie Mahtook's grounder to get Corey Dickerson at the plate. Third baseman Brock Holt made a solid play along the line on Alexei Ramirez's grounder and threw him out at first to end the inning.

Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason


Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.

Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."

He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured. 

“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.

“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”

Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.

He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015.