Final, Red Sox 5-1: John Lackey gave the Red Sox exactly what they needed Wednesday.
Lackey pitched eight innings of one-run ball after back-to-back short outings by Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester taxed the Boston bullpen. Lackey gave up seven hits but was in complete control, striking out 11 Yankees hitters while featuring an overpowering fastball.
Mike Napoli led the way offensively with three hits and an RBI. Dustin Pedroia chipped in two hits and an RBI.
The big story, aside from Lackey’s excellent performance, was Yankees starter Michael Pineda getting ejected in the second inning for having pine tar on his neck. Pineda faced questions after his April 10 start against the Red Sox for allegedly using pine tar on his throwing hand, so when he blatantly used a foreign substance Wednesday, John Farrell decided to have the umpires intervene.
The Red Sox and Yankees will square off one more time Thursday. Felix Doubront and CC Sabathia will battle in the series finale.
End 8th, Red Sox 5-1: The Red Sox tacked on a run in the eighth.
Xander Bogaerts led off with a ground ball to the left side. Third baseman Kelly Johnson charged it, but his throw to first base sailed wide. Bogaerts took second on the throwing error.
Brock Holt, who continues to be a catalyst since being recalled, singled into center field to drive in Bogaerts with Boston’s fifth run.
Koji Uehara will look to send the Fenway Faithful home happy.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 4-1: John Lackey put the finishing touches on a superb outing in the eighth inning.
Lackey retired Derek Jeter, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann in order in the eighth. He punched out Beltran for his 11th strikeout.
Lackey was downright overpowering at times, sitting at 92-93 mph with his fastball while also being able to reach back and touch 94.
End 7th, Red Sox 4-1: A failed hit-and-run attempt stymied any potential damage in the seventh inning.
Mike Napoli singled into left field to kick things off, and Mike Carp followed with a fly ball to right field.
The Red Sox put Napoli in motion with A.J. Pierzynski at the dish, and the catcher swung and missed. Napoli was out by a mile.
John Lackey, who has thrown 100 pitches through seven innings, will come back out for the eighth.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 4-1: John Lackey has been overpowering in this game, racking up 10 strikeouts through seven innings.
Lackey struck out Kelly Johnson in the seventh inning while keeping the Yankees off the scoreboard. The frame ended with Jacoby Ellsbury bouncing to first base, making the former Red Sox outfielder 0-for-4.
Lackey has thrown 100 pitches (75 strikes) thus far.
End 6th, Red Sox 4-1: Yankees manager Joe Girardi continues to piece this game together in the wake of Michael Pineda’s ejection.
Grady Sizemore, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz went down in order against Preston Claiborne in the sixth inning.
Sizemore struck out, Pedroia flied out and Ortiz grounded out.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 4-1: The Yankees jumped onto the scoreboard in the sixth inning.
Carlos Beltran led off with a double and advanced to third base when Brian McCann grounded back to John Lackey.
Alfonso Soriano gave New York its first run by lifting a fly ball deep enough to right field.
Mark Teixeira struck out to end the inning. He has struck out three times in this game on only 10 pitches.
End 5th, Red Sox 4-0: Nothing came of Brock Holt’s two-out walk.
A.J. Pierzynski popped to third and Xander Bogaerts grounded back to the mound before Holt earned a five-pitch free pass.
Jackie Bradley Jr. hit one pretty well to left field, but Alfonso Soriano battled the howling wind to make the catch on the edge of the warning track.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-0: John Lackey pitched his way out of some trouble in the fifth inning.
Brett Gardner led off with a single. Kelly Johnson added a one-out, ground-rule double to put runners at second and third.
Grady Sizemore took a strange route on Johnson’s fly ball to right field. The wind certainly played tricks, and it was an adventure out there.
Lackey escaped the second-and-third, one-out jam by striking out Jacoby Ellsbury and retiring Derek Jeter on a bouncer to second base.
End 4th, Red Sox 4-0: The Red Sox put a couple of runners on base in the fourth inning but couldn’t extend their lead.
Dustin Pedroia drilled a one-out single into right field, and David Ortiz followed with a five-pitch walk.
Mike Napoli was retired on a softly hit grounder to third base, at which point Joe Girardi turned to his bullpen.
Matt Thornton, who spent the tail end of the 2013 season with the Red Sox, struck out Mike Carp looking to end the inning.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 4-0: John Lackey has been taking care of business in this one.
Lackey bounced back from Brian McCann’s one-out single to strike out Alfonso Soriano and Mark Teixeira swinging.
Lackey reached back for a little extra against Soriano, dialing it up to 94 mph to record the strikeout.
End 3rd, Red Sox 4-0: The Red Sox doubled their lead in the third inning.
Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz reached to begin the inning. Pedroia reached on a throwing error by Derek Jeter, and Ortiz singled into right field, sending Pedey from first to third.
Mike Napoli gave the Red Sox a 3-0 lead with a strange ground-rule double. Napoli, again showing a good two-strike approach, dropped a blooper up the right field line. It immediately bounced up into the seats, but right fielder Brett Gardner didn’t realize it.
Gardner threw his hands up in confusion as both Pedroia and Ortiz scored. The umpires finally called the play a ground-rule double after some brief hysteria, and Ortiz was forced to go back to third base.
Ortiz later scored when David Phelps uncorked a wild pitch that hit the dirt a couple of feet in front of home plate.
By the way, if you’re interested in checking out the Pineda pine tar ejection, check out the link below.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: John Lackey overcame a leadoff single to work a scoreless third inning.
Brian Roberts singled, but Lackey sat down Kelly Johnson, Jacoby Ellsbury and Derek Jeter in order.
Roberts took second base as Ellsbury struck out swinging. It didn’t matter, as Lackey also struck out Jeter swinging to end the frame.
End 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Michael Pineda was replaced by David Phelps following the pine tar ejection.
Pineda retired Brock Holt and Jackie Bradley Jr. before getting tossed with Grady Sizemore batting.
Phelps entered and struck out Sizemore to end the inning.
7:55 p.m., Red Sox 2-0: Well, Michael Pineda isn’t very smart.
Pineda, who faced questions for seemingly using pine tar on his throwing hand against the Red Sox on April 10, was ejected in the second inning for having pine tar on his neck.
It was blatant, and Red Sox manager John Farrel asked the umpires to check Pineda, at which point the pitcher was tossed.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: John Lackey was on a mission in the second inning.
Lackey struck out the side on 11 pitches. All three K’s came on fastballs.
Alfonso Soriano, Mark Teixeira and Brett Gardner went down in order against Lackey. The right-hander sat at around 92-93 mph with his fastball in the second inning.
End 1st, Red Sox 2-0: Grady Sizemore showed life in the first inning.
Sizemore, who entered the game 1-for-26 over his last seven contests, snapped an 0-for-13 stretch with a triple into the right field corner.
Dustin Pedroia promptly knocked in Sizemore with a single into center field. Pedroia worked the count full before collecting the RBI knock.
David Ortiz, who absolutely crushed a 482-foot home run Tuesday, nearly hit another long ball in the first inning. He drilled a towering fly ball to center field that got caught up in the wind, and Jacoby Ellsbury drifted back under it to make the catch.
Mike Napoli put up a great at-bat against Michael Pineda. Napoli saw seven pitches and blooped a broken-bat single into right-center field that sent Pedroia racing from first to third. The most encouraging aspect of Napoli’s at-bat was the slugger’s two-strike approach, which has improved so far this season. Napoli fouled off three pitches before reaching out and poking a slider over Brian Roberts’ head.
A.J. Pierzynski hit a ground ball up the middle with two outs. Derek Jeter ranged over, but the ball went under his glove and into center field. Pierzynski might have beat out the play anyway given how slow the ball was hit, thus the official scorer graciously gave the catcher a single.
By the way, the wind is howling at Fenway.
Mid 1st, 0-0: John Lackey avoided trouble after a two-out single.
Lackey needed just four pitches to record two outs, as Jacoby Ellsbury grounded to short and Derek Jeter grounded to first.
Carlos Beltran, who smoked a home run Tuesday, then singled into center field before Lackey retired Brian McCann on a fly ball to Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field to end the inning.
7:12 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury heard some boos before his first at-bat Wednesday, though they weren’t nearly as loud as his first at-bat Tuesday.
Ellsbury didn’t stick around in the box long. He lined John Lackey’s first pitch to short, where Xander Bogaerts fielded it on one hop before firing to first base for the out.
We’re underway in Boston.
5:13 p.m.: The Red Sox made a roster move before Wednesday’s game. Outfielder Daniel Nava was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, and right-hander Alex Wilson was recalled.
Nava has struggled mightily to open the 2014 season, hitting just .149 (10-for-67) with a .240 on-base percentage and 17 strikeouts in 17 games. The 31-year-old also has had a few defensive lapses that have cost the Red Sox.
The move for Wilson was made because the Red Sox’s bullpen has been taxed over the last couple of days. John Farrell said before Wednesday’s game the hope is that Boston will only need to carry an extra pitcher for one day, as outfielder Shane Victorino appears ready to return from the disabled list
Mike Carp will get the nod in left field Wednesday, with Jackie Bradley Jr. and Grady Sizemore patrolling center field and right field, respectively. Farrell said the Red Sox view Sizemore mostly as a corner outfielder now and like Bradley’s range in center field, meaning JBJ essentially has become an everyday player — even when Victorino returns.
Wednesday’s starting lineups are below.
Boston Red Sox (9-12)
Grady Sizemore, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Mike Carp, LF
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Brock Holt, 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
John Lackey, RHP (2-2, 5.25 ERA)
New York Yankees (12-8)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Derek Jeter, 2B
Carlos Beltran, DH
Brian McCann, C
Alfonso Soriano, LF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Brett Gardner, RF
Brian Roberts, 2B
Kelly Johnson, 3B
Michael Pineda, RHP (2-1, 1.00 ERA)
5 p.m. ET: It’s been a rough few days for Boston Red Sox starting pitching. John Lackey will look to right the ship Wednesday.
Jake Peavy, Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester all contributed subpar performances in this last trip through the Red Sox’s rotation. Boston survived Peavy’s shaky outing, but the Sox enter Wednesday’s contest against the New York Yankees having dropped back-to-back games, including a 9-3, blowout loss to the Bronx Bombers on Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
Lackey enters Wednesday on the heels of two straight rocky performances. He surrendered six earned runs — and four home runs — on 10 hits against the Yankees on April 12, and then allowed six earned runs on 10 hits against the Baltimore Orioles last Friday. Lackey earned the loss in both starts, running his record to 2-2, as the right-hander actually was quite solid in his first two starts of the season.
Lackey will be opposed by Michael Pineda, who, of course, was at the center of a pine tar controversy in his last start against the Red Sox on April 10. Pineda, who has given up just two runs over 18 innings this season, allowed one run on four hits over six innings against Boston in a start in which he appeared to have pine tar on his pitching hand. Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Wednesday’s game that Pineda likely will be more discreet if he uses pine tar in this contest.
The weather in Boston has been iffy Wednesday, but Mother Nature is expected to cooperate. The sun is trying to peek its way through the clouds at Fenway Park. The game’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m., so be sure to stick around with NESN.com.