Lackey's beanball highlights tense game

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Lackey's beanball highlights tense game

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.

Sox may have finally found their everyday third baseman for the postseason

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Sox may have finally found their everyday third baseman for the postseason

BOSTON — As has been well-documented, the Red Sox have tried any number of solutions at third base this season, with eight different players getting starts at the position.

Travis Shaw has the most starts of anyone, with 99. But with three games left in the season, it's become apparent that Brock Holt is being viewed as the likely starter in the post-season.

Holt started all three games in the recent series in New York and was the starter Friday night against Toronto, too.

"You look at the consistent quality to the at-bats," said John Farrell, "and they've been there for him. That's not to say the other guys aren't important to us. But this is the time of year where you're looking to put the best, current lineup on the field and his versatility has shown up a number of ways. He's a confident defender at third base and his skill set is a little bit different from the other guys.

"So against righthanded pitching, that could be the guy we're going with."

Holt came into Friday hitting .319 (22-for-69) in the last 24 games.

Shaw, meanwhile, has been streaky to a fault. In the second half of the season, Shaw has posted a slash line of .195/.260/.362.

"We've seen (the streakiness both ways) in short spurts," Farrell said. "He does have the ability to carry us. But we're trying to get there and we're at a point in the year where every game is meaningful. That's not to say you turn your back on what he did earlier in the season. But we're looking for sparks somewhere."

What's more, Farrell had Holt hitting second in the lineup, in an effort to produce more offense. The Sox were limited to just eight runs in the three-game series at Yankee Stadium, and over the last 11 games, scored more than five runs just once.

Holt hit second, with Xander Bogaerts dropped to sixth.

"This is to create a little bit of a spark for us offensively," explained Farrell. "We've been grinding a little bit. And also, (we want) to create a little more (left-right) balance up and down the lineup."

TIME TO PLAY

As the final few regular season games of his career wind down, David Ortiz acknowledged that it's becoming increasing difficult to focus on the games with all the tributes and ceremonies going on.

In the final 11 days of the season, Ortiz will have had five pre-game ceremonies held in his honor -- and it would have been six had not Ortiz asked the Tampa Bay Rays to cancel the ceremony they had planned in the aftermath of the death that morning of pitcher Jose Fernandez.

On Thursday night, Ortiz has his family on the field for a pre-game celebration hosted by the New York Yankees.

Minutes later, he had to step in to the batter's box against CC Sabathia. Sometimes, it's hard to flip that switch and be emotionally ready to compete.

"I'm not going to lie to you -- it has (gotten harder)," said Ortiz. "We're already in the playoffs, so for the next three days, I don't really have to worry about it. But the best thing about it is that once we get into the playoffs, there's not going to be all these distractions.

"I like to mentally focus when we play, especially when I'm playing for a reason. We work extremely hard during the regular season to get into the playoffs and once we get there, I don't want to blow that off. It's not easy to (do all the ceremonies) and play baseball at the same time. It can be a distraction."

Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays lineups: Porcello goes for win No. 23

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Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays lineups: Porcello goes for win No. 23

The A.L. East-champion Red Sox, still fighting for playoff position, field their usual lineup as they open David Ortiz's final regular-season series tonight (7:10) against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox (92-67) are two games behind the Texas Rangers (94-65) in the race for the best record in the A.L., with the Cleveland Indians (91-67) a half-game behind Boston.

Rick Porcello (22-4, 3.11 ERA), the likely Game 1 starter in the ALDS, will try to add to his Cy Young Award resume tonight. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Marco Estrada (9-9, 3.53).

The Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles (both 87-72) are tied for the A.L. wild-card lead with the Detroit Tigers (85-73) 1 1/2 games back.

It’s the final regular season series for Oritz, with ceremonies planned to honor the retiring Red Sox DH prior to each of the final three game this weekend. 

The lineups:

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Brock Holt 3B

Mookie Betts RF

David Ortiz DH

Hanely Ramirez 1B

Xander Bogaerts SS

Jackie Bradley CF

Sandy Leon C

Andrew Benintendi LF

Rick Porcello P

 

BLUE JAYS

Eziquiel Carrera LF

Josh Donaldson 3B

Edwin Encarnacion DH

Jose Bautista RF

Russell Martin C

Troy Tulowitzki SS

Justin Smoak 1B

Kevin Pillar CF

Devon Travis 2B

Marco Estrada RHP