Red Sox-Braves Live: John Lackey Struggles As Boston Falls 6-3

Xander BogaertsFinal, Braves 6-3: Boston went down in order in the ninth inning, and the Braves have dealt the Red Sox their sixth loss in eight games.

John Lackey struggled a bit in his third spring training start. The right-hander gave up five earned runs on 10 hits, including two homers, in 4 2/3 innings. Lackey did, however, strike out six while not walking anyone.

Braves starter Alex Wood continued his excellent spring with six solid innings against the Red Sox. The young lefty gave up just one run on six hits — with four of those hits coming in one inning — while striking out four.

Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino each collected two hits for Boston, while Mike Napoli, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. each drove in a run.

Andrelton Simmons and Dan Uggla went deep for the Braves, who banged out 14 hits against Red Sox pitching. Freddie Freeman had a big day, going 4-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

End 8th, Braves 6-3: Francisco Cordero continues to make his case for a roster spot, particularly if Craig Breslow isn’t ready for the start of the regular season.

Cordero surrendered a two-out single, but otherwise was once again effective. The veteran right-hander kept the Braves scoreless in the eighth inning to give the Red Sox a chance in the ninth inning.

Mid 8th, Braves 6-3: The Red Sox couldn’t put a dent into Atlanta’s lead in the eighth inning.

Dustin Pedroia singled with one out, but Boston didn’t build on it. The Red Sox will need some ninth-inning magic to keep this game going.

Francisco Cordero will be Boston’s new pitcher in the bottom of the eighth inning.

End 7th, Braves 6-3: Dalier Hinojosa simply didn’t have it in the seventh inning.

Hinojosa, who took over on the mound amid some defensive changes for Boston, consistently fell behind hitters while lasting only one third of an inning. Hinojosa gave up two singles, two walks and a sacrifice fly before manager John Farrell saw enough.

Farrell turned to Dayan Diaz with the bases loaded and one out. Diaz did an excellent job of escaping the jam, recording back-to-back outs to keep Boston’s deficit at three runs.

Mid 7th, Braves 5-3: The Red Sox chipped away in the seventh.

A.J. Pierzynski led off with a ground ball up the middle. It should have been a routine play for Sean Kazmar, but the newly inserted shortstop couldn’t handle it. Pierzynski reached on the error and was replaced by a pinch runner in Keury De La Cruz.

Xander Bogaerts made Kazmar’s miscue count. He lined a double into the left field corner that scored De La Cruz all the way from first base. Bogaerts took third on the throw home.

Jackie Bradley Jr., who has struggled offensively this spring, added a run with a single into left field.

End 6th, Braves 5-1: Tommy Layne has had a good spring despite flying under the radar.

Layne recorded three strikeouts in the sixth inning while working around a two-out single.

Jose Constanza went down swinging, and Alex Wood and Andrelton Simmons both went down looking.

Mid 6th, Braves 5-1: The Red Sox haven’t exactly put on a baserunning clinic in this game.

Daniel Nava, who reached on an error, was picked off first base in the sixth inning, marking the second time Nava has been tagged out in this contest. Nava also was retired during a rundown in the fourth inning when he and Shane Victorino seemingly were involved in some miscommunication on the bases.

Dustin Pedroia singled with two outs in the sixth, but Mike Napoli grounded into a forceout to end the inning.

End 5th, Braves 5-1: The Braves opened things up while knocking John Lackey from the game in the fifth inning.

Andrelton Simmons, who homered in the third inning, bunted his way on in the fifth.

Freddie Freeman then laced a sharp grounder to the shortstop side of second base. It was a tough play for Xander Bogaerts, but the young shortstop made an ill-advised toss to second that allowed Simmons to advance to third base.

Chris Johnson knocked in Atlanta’s third run with a sacrifice fly to right field. It was a nice piece of situational hitting by Johnson.

The Braves weren’t done. Dan Uggla lifted a towering fly ball down the left field line that landed beyond the fence for a two-run blast.

Ryan Doumit almost made it back-to-back jacks with a well-struck ball to center field. Doumit’s deep drive bounced off the wall, though, and he ended up diving into second base with a two-out double that knocked Lackey from the game.

Tommy Layne finally stopped the bleeding upon entering.

Lackey was charged with five earned runs on 10 hits over 4 2/3 innings. He struck out six, didn’t walk anyone and gave up two home runs. Lackey looked a bit frustrated after surrendering the fifth-inning homer to Uggla.

Mid 5th, Braves 2-1: Alex Wood settled back down in the fifth inning after surrendering four hits in the fourth inning.

Jackie Bradley Jr., Will Middlebrooks and Corey Brown went down in order against the Atlanta lefty.

Bradley and Middlebrooks grounded out, and Brown ended things with a flyout to right field.

End 4th, Braves 2-1: John Lackey used back-to-back strikeouts to escape some trouble in the fourth inning.

Ryan Doumit and Joey Terdoslavich delivered two straight singles in the fourth before Lackey settled down.

Jose Constanza and Alex Wood each struck out swinging to end Atlanta’s threat.

Mid 4th, Braves 2-1: The Red Sox scored a run on four hits in the fourth inning.

Daniel Nava and Shane Victorino got things going with back-to-back singles. Some miscommunication on the bases led to Boston’s second out of the inning, though.

Nava bluffed toward third base with Mike Napoli batting with one out. Victorino, seemingly thinking that Nava was going to try for third, took off for second base. The result was a rundown in which Nava was tagged out between second and third.

Napoli drove in Victorino from second base with a bloop single into right field, and A.J. Pierzynski continued the inning with a single of his own. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, the inning’s baserunning blunder might have cost them a run, as Xander Bogaerts struck out to end the threat.

End 3rd, Braves 2-0: John Lackey had an eventful third inning.

Lackey struck out pitcher Alex Wood to begin the inning. Jordan Schafer then tried to bunt his way aboard, at which point Lackey made a sensational defensive play.

Schafer’s bunt attempt squirted past the mound and toward second base. Lackey gave chase, ultimately dropping to his knees as he scooped the ball with his glove to first baseman Daniel Nava. Lackey’s impressive scoop arrived just in time to get Schafer for the second out of the inning.

Lackey, who was OK after getting checked out by the trainer, could be seen smiling and saying to Dustin Pedroia, “You like that?” in regards to his Web Gem.

Andrelton Simmons quickly put a damper on things for Lackey, though. He launched a solo homer over the left field fence.

Freddie Freeman, who knocked in Atlanta’s first run, added injury to insult, so to speak, by lining a comebacker off Lackey’s hip. Lackey again checked out OK, and he struck out Chris Johnson swinging to end the inning.

Mid 3rd, Braves 1-0: Alex Wood’s impressive spring continues, as the lefty has had no trouble taking care of business thus far.

Wood induced back-to-back ground ball outs in the third inning after Jackie Bradley Jr. led off with a lazy fly ball to right-center field.

End 2nd, Braves 1-0: John Lackey located his fastball well in the second inning.

Lackey struck out Ryan Doumit and Joey Terdoslavich to begin the second inning. Doumit waved at a fastball on the outside corner, while Terdoslavich went down looking when Lackey painted the outside black.

Jose Constanza grounded out to end a very efficient inning for Lackey.

Mid 2nd, Braves 1-0: Alex Wood worked another scoreless inning in the second, giving him 16 scoreless frames this spring.

The left-hander also picked up his third strikeout in the second inning. He got Xander Bogaerts to chase a pitch out of the strike zone to end the inning.

Mike Napoli flied out and A.J. Pierzynski rolled over a grounder to second base.

End 1st, Braves 1-0: Freddie Freeman showed in the first inning why the Braves paid the 24-year-old so handsomely over the offseason.

Jordan Schafer led off with a single against John Lackey, who then induced a ground ball with Andrelton Simmons batting. Simmons’ grounder was hit softly, though, and Schafer, who was off with the pitch, avoided a double play by siding safely into second base.

The Braves’ decision to send the runner with Simmons batting proved to be big, as Freeman wasted no time in driving a ball into the right-center field gap. Schafer easily scored from second base as Freeman scooped up a double.

Corey Brown made a very nice play to end the inning. Brown, Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks all chased a popup into foul territory along the third base line. Brown ended up making the catch while reaching over the wall.

Mid 1st, 0-0: A strike-him-out, throw-him-out double play ended the top of the first inning.

Shane Victorino capped a nice at-bat with a line drive single through the right side. Alex Wood had started his outing by striking out Daniel Nava.

The Red Sox attempted a hit-and-run with Dustin Pedroia in the box, but it didn’t work out as planned. Pedroia chased a pitch outside, and Victorino was thrown out at second base.

1:06 p.m.: Alex Wood tosses a first-pitch strike.

The Red Sox will have their hands full in this one, as Wood has been lights out this spring.

12:59 p.m.: We learned Friday that David Ortiz reportedly is closing in on a contract extension with the Red Sox, while Jon Lester is optimistic about his chances of signing a new deal.

As WEEI.com’s Alex Speier points out, a contract extension for either Ortiz or Lester wouldn’t impact the Red Sox’s 2014 luxury tax figure.

12:47 p.m.: Before swan diving into Saturday’s action, you might want to check out some Red Sox spring training notes at the link below. (You also might not want to, but I’m really banking on you taking the bait on my shameless plug.)

Anywho, the topics covered in Saturday’s notes — from Friday’s action — include Will Middlebrooks’ new contact lenses, Craig Breslow’s status and Clay Buchholz’s plan, among other things.

Click here for Sox notes >>

11 a.m.: Daniel Nava will lead off for Boston on Saturday.

Grady Sizemore has seen some time atop the order recently, but he gets the day off as he prepares to play in three straight games for the first time this spring beginning Sunday. Nava will play first base — something he also did in Thursday’s game against the New York Yankees.

The rest of the Red Sox’s lineup is below. Boston apparently will be able to use a designated hitter while playing in the National League Ballpark — unlike Friday, when Phillies skipper Ryne Sandberg opted to have the pitchers bat. Atlanta still will use a pitcher in the No. 9 hole as preparation for regular-season play.

Boston Red Sox
Daniel Nava, 1B
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mike Napoli, DH
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Corey Brown, LF

John Lackey, RHP

Atlanta Braves
Jordan Schafer, CF
Andrelton Simmons, SS
Freddie Freeman, 1B
Chris Johnson, 3B
Dan Uggla, 2B
Ryan Doumit, C
Joey Terdoslavich, RF
Jose Constanza, LF
Alex Wood, LHP

10:15 a.m. ET: The Boston Red Sox, fresh off a 10-inning tie with the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, travel to Kissimmee, Fla., for a showdown with the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.

The Red Sox, who are 1-5-1 over their last six spring training contests, will send John Lackey to the hill in Saturday’s matinee. This marks the right-hander’s third start of spring training, with his last coming against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.

Lackey was touched up a bit in Monday’s outing, but the veteran hurler wasn’t too concerned about the overall results, saying after his start that he spent some time working on his cutter and that he was glad to get his pitch count up.

Lackey will be opposed by Alex Wood, who will face some Boston regulars. Several projected starters made the trip to Kissimmee, including Shane Victorino, who will play outside of Fort Myers for the first time this spring.

Saturday’s action is scheduled to kick off at 1:05 p.m. You can catch the game on NESN, so why wouldn’t you? Also, be sure to stick around with NESN.com’s live blog for updates throughout the day.

Red Sox on Twitter

Yardbarker

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 183,879 other followers