The Red Sox took a 4-0 win over the Orioles Saturday night thanks to a surprisingly strong outing from John Lackey.
After his two inning, seven run meltdown against the Blue Jays on Monday, John Lackey was in need of a big start if only to convince the Red Sox he was still worthy of another chance. He came through. Showing great command and avoiding the middle-of-the-plate (an area which seemed to have become his home in recent weeks), Lackey pitched 6.2 scoreless innings, and would have finished the seventh had Jarrod Saltalamacchia been able to come up with a swinging third strike for the final out. Perhaps most impressively, Lackey induced 17 swings-and-misses, picking up seven strikeouts along the way while allowing just four men to reach base.
The Sox offense, meanwhile, was letting Alfredo Simon pretend at similar dominance. With a 1-for-9 mark with RISP after four innings, the Sox were once again stranding baserunners like nobody's business. That finally changed in the fifth inning. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a one-out triple to give the Sox a great chance to score, but the team seemed ready to come up empty again when Simon managed to snag Dustin Pedroia's high come-backer, catching Ellsbury between third and home as Pedroia moved up to second.
Simon still had one more out to go, however, and decided to take his chances with Kevin Youkilis instead of Adrian Gonzalez, walking the current first baseman to get to the former one. The plan did not work, as Youk put a good swing on a 2-2 slider that caught too much of the plate and laced it into left field for an RBI double. Again the Orioles decided to go to the intentional walk, sending David Ortiz to first to face Josh Reddick. Again, it didn't work, and again, it was to the tune of a double--this time to right field.
The Sox would add another run to their total in the seventh, with Kevin Youkilis picking up his second RBI double of the night, but they wouldn't need it. Daniel Bard worked around an infield single in the eighth, and Jonathan Papelbon had an unusually quiet ninth for a non-save situation to close out the 4-0 win.