Closing Time: John Lackey sticks around for eight innings in leading Red Sox past Yankees

April 23, 2014 - 6:23 pm
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John Lackey came into Wednesday looking for a bounce back start after two straight shaky outings where the righty gave up six runs in less than five innings pitched. Sans the help of pine tar, Lackey delivered a dynamite eight inning, one-run performance, helping lift the Red Sox to a 5-1 win over the Yankees.

Through his eight innings, Lackey dominated the Yankees to the tune of a season-high eleven strikeouts on seven hits. Lackey consistently pounded the outside part of the plate with all of his pitches, throwing 76 percent (111 pitches, 84 strikes) of his pitches for strikes on the evening. The stickiest situation all night for the hurler came in the fifth inning, when Yankees right fielder Brett Gardner started the inning off with a single and was moved to third base by Kelly Johnson's ground rule double. Lackey quickly responded to the hits by striking out Jacoby Ellsbury and forcing Derek Jeter to ground out to Dustin Pedroia.

The Yankees' lone run came in the sixth inning when Alfonso Soriano drove in Carlos Beltran on a sacrifice fly. The Yankees' one run is tied the lowest run total a Red Sox opponent has scored this year (The Texas Rangers also scored one run in a 5-1 win on April 7).

Lackey's eight inning performance was incredibly important for the Red Sox bullpen, which has thrown 14.2 innings in the three games prior to tonight's contest.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

  • Grady Sizemore started the home half of the first inning with a standup triple into the right field corner, breaking his 0-for-13 streak on the homestand. Sizemore was 1-for-26 before the three bagger. The triple was Sizemore'€™s first since June of 2011. Sizemore scored on a Dustin Pedroia single up the middle.
  • The Red Sox scored two runs in the first inning for the first time this season.
  • This time, the Red Sox got him. Michael Pineda was ejected in the middle of second inning forusing pine tar. Home plate umpire Gerry Davis ejected the tall righty after touching a shiny area on Pineda's neck. Major League Baseball will review the incident on Thursday and former Yankees manager and current MLB Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations Joe Torre will determine the length of Pineda's suspension.
  • Mike Napoli continued his strong week with an RBI double in the third inning that bounced fair down the right field line and disappeared into the stands. During the ensuing confusion, Napoli ran home because Gardner and the umpires could not find the ball. The play was subsequently ruled a ground rule double. Since April 13, Napoli is hitting .342 with a .385 on-base percentage with four doubles, three home runs and six RBI.
  • Dustin Pedroia continued his recent hot streak with two singles, two runs scored and one RBI. Since receiving a cortisone shot in his left wrist on April 15, Pedroia has hit .352 (34 at-bats) with a .450 on-base percentage with six doubles and three RBI.
  • Brock Holt turned in another strong performance with an RBI single and two walks. Since being recalled from Pawtucket on April 18, Holt is hitting .400 with four RBI with a .458 on-base percentage.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
  • Catcher A.J. Pierzynski swung through a hit-and-run that resulted in Mike Napoli being thrown out at second base.
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