By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON John Lackey entered Tuesdays series opener with the Yankees at Fenway Park undefeated in his two starts, despite a 7.36 ERA, against New York this season. The third time was not a charm for the Red Sox right-hander. Lackey took the loss as the Sox fell to the Yankees, 5-2. The loss snapped Lackeys three-start winning streak.
Lackey went seven innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits and four walks with three strikeouts. His record fell to 12-10, with a 5.94 ERA.
I felt pretty good, Lackey said. I kind of got a little unlucky on the first run. They put a little something together against me for the two runs, then solo homer. And the last one they kind of manufactured one on the sac bunt that turned into a hit.
The Yankees make you work for everything, said manager Terry Francona. If you leave the strike zone, they dont swing. I think he had four walks. I thought his stuff was really good. He started to gain life on his fastball, actually threw his fastball, got some misses with that. Just if you make a mistake, that lineup really makes you pay.
The solo homer Lackey gave up was to New Yorks No. 9 hitter, Francisco Cervelli, on a 3-1, 88-mph fastball leading off the fifth inning, putting the Yankees ahead by two runs. It was Cervellis second home run of the season, and third of his career. Cervellis clap as he crossed the plate did not go unnoticed by his opponents. So, when Cervelli became Lackeys major-league leading 17th hit batter of the season, in his next plate appearance, eyebrows were raised.
Thats a 3-1 pitch to the nine-hole hitter, said Lackey. I didnt want to walk him, and its probably the only time I gave in all night. It didnt work out . . . I was definitely not trying to hit him. I was trying to knock him down, for sure. You can go look to see where he stands in the box. You got to get him off the plate a little bit. I threw a 3-1 pitch that he hit out. I was definitely not trying to hit him, but I was definitely trying to move him back. You dont want to put a baserunner on in a two-run ballgame.
Still, Lackey thought Cervellis display could have been curtailed.
I thought it was a little excessive honestly, he said. But thats not a spot you handle something like that.
Nobody likes to get hit. But I was trying to move him off the plate. Ive been fined twice this year for hitting guys and Ive paid because they were right. But this one, Im not afraid to tell you if I was trying to hit somebody. I would have told him to his face.
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia had the closest view of Cervellis display.
That's the kind of guy he is, Saltalamacchia said. He's real emotional. When he gets on base, after every strikeout ends an inning, he'll pump his fist. That's the kind of player he is and I've got no problem with that whatsoever.
As far as I'm concerned, he's excited to win. He's excited for his guys to do well. But at the same time, you have to respect the pitcher on the mound. So certain things I think, you go too far.
The clap at home plate. He was excited. He hit a home run. Second of the year. Good for him.
I totally understand how it could look that way. Guy hit a home run. Next at-bat, first pitch you hit him. That was not our intention.
We had no intent on hitting him. It just happened that way. I understand how it can look bad.
It was suggested to Saltalamacchia that other players such as David Ortiz and Barry Bonds have admired their home runs at times. But perhaps by their stature they have earned the right to do so.
The games changing, Saltalamacchia said. A lot of Latin players, thats how they play. Its OK to an extent. But sometimes youve got to step back.
Saltalamacchia, who cited Elvis Andrus as an example of a flashy player, later offered a clarification of his comments.
I basically wanted to clarify and say I wasn't trying to say Latin' players or any of that stuff, Saltalamacchia said. I was just saying he was an emotional guy and a lot of the younger guys coming up were emotional players and they're young guys coming up, wanting to make a name, and stick around. The game's changed a little bit from when the older guys were coming up and veterans were a key in their development. So, basically, I was saying he's a real emotional guy and I have no issues with him, doing what he does, because that's the player he is.
Matt Albers also hit Jorge Posada with a pitch in the eighth inning.
In the ninth inning, Saltalamacchia was hit by a pitch from Mariano Rivera. It appeared Saltalamacchia swung at the pitch, but when he was awarded first base, Yankees manager Joe Girardi came out to argue the call. Girardi was almost immediately ejected by third base umpire Mark Wegner.
Whether any of that carries over to Wednesdays game remains to be seen.
Honestly, I think the hype that the media build up can spill over on to the field sometimes, honestly, Lackey said. The way things are covered sometimes can raise things that arent really there.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.