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Red Sox 9, Rays 5: Sox Back Up Solid John Lackey Outing, Take First Win Of Second Half

The Red Sox defeated the Rays 9-5 Saturday thanks to some impressive pitching from John Lackey and a consistent scoring attack against James Shields and the bullpen.

The game started in messy fashion for the Red Sox, or Marco Scutaro to be more specific. The first four balls put in play by the Rays were hit in his direction, and he made the play on exactly none of them. The first one, a routine grounder, he threw wide of Adrian Gonzalez at first, resulting in an error. The second went up the middle without being touched. The third one Scutaro managed to get to on a perhaps unneeded slide, but the ball booted off his glove and instead of a possible double play, the Sox were left with no outs, a run in, and two men on. An out finally came on the fourth, but even then it was a bad play, with Scutaro sending the short toss to Pedroia well wide of the bag at second. A sprawling play from Pedroia kept the out, but it absolutely cost the Sox a second.

From there, another couple of singles put the Sox up 3-0 before Lackey could escape the first. The Sox went immediately to work backing him up in the second, with a one-out walk to Jarrod Saltalamacchia setting up Josh Reddick. With a full count, Reddick hit a foul tip that bounced out of Shoppach’s glove. The next pitch he got a lot more of, crushing a long home run to right field to bring the Sox within one run.

Lackey would create his own trouble in the second, but escaped from a bases loaded situation unharmed to keep the score at 3-2, which was an easy enough deficit to overcome. Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis both reached base to lead off the third inning, and then scored on a double off the bat of David Ortiz, who came around himself on J.D. Drew’s double. One inning later, and it was Jacoby Ellsbury launching a long ball to make it 6-3.

John Lackey, meanwhile, had done a very good job of reminding Sox fans of what he had done against the Orioles with strikeouts of Longoria, Upton, Fuld, Shoppach, and Zobrist in scoreless third and fourth innings. He would end up allowing a home run to Matt Joyce on a pretty good low curveball in the fifth, but should have left the game with a quality start had the last out of a would-have-been 1-2-3 fifth eating up Adrian Gonzalez at first. Lackey’s next pitch caught Ben Zobrist in the foot, and Terry Francona pulled him from the game.

Randy Williams had a successful Red Sox debut, recording three outs between the sixth and seventh innings before handing the ball over to Daniel Bard, who extended his scoreless streak to 20.2 innings. The Sox pushed across a couple of insurance runs in the ninth, and let Jonathan Papelbon take over for the non-save situation, where he predictably gave up one run en route to closing it out.