Boston Begins Interleague Play With A Loss In Philadelphia, 5-1

Jayson Werth hit a two-run homer, and Ryan Howard finished 2-for-3 with a solo shot, two RBI and two runs scored, as Philadelphia downed Boston, 5-1, in the opener of a three-game interleague series at Citizens Bank Park.

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John Lackey Struggles Again As His Quest For Control Continues

Sure, the Red Sox offense struggled in Friday night's loss -- the Phillies' Cole Hamels limited the Boston bats to just three hits and one run in seven innings. But the other, glaring factor was John Lackey's, well, lack of control. Perhaps our Sox blog, Over The Monster, said it best: "John Lackey continued to fail to live up to his massive contract." And they're right -- I don't think Boston is paying him nearly $19 million this season to walk five batters in a game (to just three strikeouts), but that's exactly what Lackey did last night (a season high for walks).

"It's not like he's wild,'' said Terry Francona. "Some of it you have to attribute it to who you're facing. And the situation in the game. You don't want to give in. He missed with pitches, but not by much. It's not like he's scattering balls. He's trying to be fine because of the situation of the game.''

"When you're playing one-run games in this ballpark, you can't give in,'' said Lackey. "The walks didn't effect me any. I gave up the one homer (to Howard) in the fourth and the one (to Werth) that goes out pretty much anywhere.''

While Lackey doesn't seem too concerned about it -- when asked after the game if he was worried about his recent lack of control, Lackey responded, "Not at all. I think only one of (the walks) scored. That's all that matters."

As you might expect, pitching coach John Farrell isn't exactly taking the same approach (see: $18.7 million salary this year), and said as much last night, pointing out that "the consistency of command has not been, game-to-game, as I think he or everyone else would expect."

It is worth noting (maybe) that after Friday's loss, Lackey joined Daisuke Matsuzaka in hinting at some other, behind-the-scenes factors which were to blame for his bad starts (a 7.50 ERA in his past three outings).

"I haven't pitched my best, obviously. Multiple things have been kind of going on -- it's been a little tough luck here and there, and lack of execution, too. I've been around long enough. I'll figure it out.'' [...]

When asked about his escalating walk totals and, correspondingly, his decreased strikeout-to-walk ratio, Lackey answered: "I can't get into that.''

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Boston Begins Interleague Play With A Loss In Philadelphia, 5-1

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Jayson Werth hit a two-run homer, and Ryan Howard finished 2-for-3 with a solo shot, two RBI and two runs scored, as Philadelphia downed Boston, 5-1, in the opener of a three-game interleague series at Citizens Bank Park.

Shane Victorino also knocked in a run for the Phillies, who have won two in a row and six of eight. Jimmy Rollins was 1-for-3 before exiting the game with a mild right calf strain.

Cole Hamels (5-2) scattered three hits and one run over seven strong innings, fanning eight with one walk. J.C. Romero picked up his second save by getting the final two outs.

"He threw very good, he had a high pitch count early. But he settled in and made it work while the other bats helped him out," noted Phillies manager Charlie Manuel of his starter.

Victor Martinez hit a first-inning homer to account for all the offense for the Red Sox, whose three-game win streak was halted.

John Lackey (4-3) was touched in defeat for six hits and four runs, including two homers, in five innings. He walked five and fanned three.

Martinez deposited a pitch into the seats in left-center with two down in the first to get Boston on the board, then Howard began the fourth with a solo blast to left.

Werth followed with a double that Sox right-fielder J.D. Drew lost in the lights, and two batters later Victorino scored Werth with a bloop single to left. The Phils later left the bases loaded when Placido Polanco grounded to third.

Howard walked with one out in the fifth, and Werth's two-run shot to the upper-deck in left made it 4-1 for Philadelphia.

Rollins singled with one out in the sixth but left the game for pinch-runner Juan Castro, who advanced to second on a Chase Utley hit with two outs and scored on Howard's cue shot against the shift on the left side.

"They make every pitcher work," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of the team he formerly managed. "They have guys willing to go deep in the count."

Hamels did not allow a hit from Darnell McDonald's leadoff single in the third until Adrian Beltre's two-out ground-rule double in the seventh. He finished his outing with a fly out to right from Bill Hall.

David Herndon retired the side in order in the eighth, then Danys Baez put two on in the ninth with one out. Romero came on and got Drew on a grounder but hit Beltre before pinch-hitter David Ortiz flew out to center to end the game.

Hamels has won three straight outings and has not lost in his last five starts...The Phillies went just 6-12 in interleague play last season, while the Red Sox won 11 of their 18 contests...Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis walked in four plate appearances and has reached base in each of his last 21 games...Prior to the game, the Phillies sent infielder Wilson Valdez to Triple-A Lehigh Valley...Coming into the game, Boston had taken 14-of-18 matchups with Philadelphia and had won nine of their last 12 games in the Quaker City.

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