Closing Time: Red Sox winning streak reaches 3 behind John Lackey

May 28, 2014 - 6:27 pm
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The Red Sox have finally done something it took them almost two months of the season to accomplish: put together a three-game winning streak. With Wednesday night's 4-0 victory at Fenway Park, the days of the 10-game slide seem increasingly distant for the Red Sox following three straight triumphs (in two cities) against one of the National League'€™s best clubs, the Braves. Starter John Lackey wasn'€™t untouchable, allowing eight hits on the evening, but got the job done with 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball in which the right-hander showed impressive command, throwing 77 of his 105 pitches for strikes (73 percent) while fanning nine, all of them swinging strikeouts. Lackey would rack up 20 swings and misses, with 13 coming on his cutter and seven on the four-seam fastball. For the fourth time this season, Lackey didn'€™t allow a single walk. Though Lackey allowed eight hits, no runner reached third base until he was already lifted from the game, when a groundout moved runners to second and third in the top of the seventh. The right-hander has now lasted into or past the seventh inning in five of his last seven starts. Earning the victory, Lackey improves to 6-3 on the season and owns a 3.27 ERA through 11 starts. WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX -- The Red Sox were able to capitalize on some of the Braves'€™ miscues on defense. A throwing error by shortstop Ramiro Pena allowed Jonny Gomes to reach second on what should have been a single, and the outfielder then advanced to third on a wild pitch by Braves starter Gavin Floyd. Although Daniel Nava grounded into a double play after Grady Sizemore drew a walk, Gomes scored the game'€™s first run. In the third inning, Xander Bogaerts hustled out of the box and was credited with a double after a ball fell in between three Braves players in shallow right-center. Two batters later, David Ortiz extended the inning by beating out a grounder that was bobbled slightly by second baseman Tommy La Stella. A.J. Pierzynski would come through with an RBI single. -- Xander Bogaerts continues to swing a hot bat, going 3-for-4 with a walk, single and a (lucky) double. He'€™s hitting .395 with four doubles and two home runs over his last 11 games, with six of those being multi-hit performances. With Stephen Drew waiting in the wings rehabbing with the PawSox, Bogaerts has not let the impending position change affect his defensive development at shortstop; the 21-year-old made an impressive running catch on a pop-up to start the game, venturing into left field to snag the fly. (Drew went 1-for-3 with a single and a pair of strikeouts on Wednesday in Pawtucket. He's now 4-for-11 with six strikeouts in his four rehab games.) -- Jackie Bradley Jr. notched his second multi-hit game in a row, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, lacing a double into the left-field corner with runners on first and second in the sixth. -- Left-hander Chris Capuano worked around a walk to a right-handed hitter (B.J. Upton) to retire left-handers Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman. Capuano has held southpaws to a .200/.238/.300 line this season. WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX -- Daniel Nava still has not found his swing, going 0-for-2 and grounding into a double play (though it did score a run). Nava is without a hit through eight plate appearances since being recalled from Pawtucket and has reached base just once with a walk. He was pinch-hit for by Ryan Lavarnway in the sixth inning. -- Lavarnway didn't fare much better at the plate, though; in his two at-bats, he stranded five runners, flying out with two on in the bottom of the sixth and grounding into a one-out, bases-loaded double play in the seventh. -- Brock Holt'€™s eight-game hitting streak was snapped with an 0-for-5 day at the plate, striking out twice, flying out, grounding out and reaching on a fielder'€™s choice as a runner was thrown out at the plate on a grounder to second. Holt'€™s average has now fallen below .300 to .294 on the season.

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