John Lackey, David Ortiz Lead Sox to Third Consecutive Victory


John Lackey, David Ortiz Lead Sox to Third Consecutive Victory Postgame, Red Sox 8-5: Your Boston Red Sox are now tied with the New York Yankees for the most wins in the majors after another team effort Tuesday.

In the clubhouse, despite some guys playing different positions and several stars not in the mix, the tone was business as usual.

It'll have to be that way for some time going forward.

With efforts like the one John Lackey gave, it makes it a whole lot easier. Lackey said he never shook off Jason Varitek all night. The big righty, who often gets better as the season progresses, may be settling in.

Another righty the Sox would like to see settle in is Daisuke Matsuzaka, who gets the start in Wednesday's finale opposite Matt Garza. First pitch is 7:10 p.m.

Final, Red Sox 8-5: Finally, Jonathan Papelbon closes the door as the Sox secure their third straight win.

Boston makes the most of its 10 hits and ride a solid outing from John Lackey to add to the misery for the reeling Rays, who are 12-20 in their last 32 games.

Jason Varitek and Bill Hall, two of the replacements for the injured stars, have four RBIs apiece, Hall getting his on a two-run bomb in the seventh. David Ortiz's three-run shot in the fifth started the scoring.

Lackey goes seven, giving up a run on eight hits. He is now 9-3.

Heading down for reaction on this one. Back up in a bit.

10:35 p.m.: And still we await that final out. After multiple relievers struggle to get it, we have Jonathan Papelbon on in an 8-5 game. Ben Zobrist, who just singled in two runs, is on first with two outs.

10:26 p.m.: Scott Atchison gets the first out in the ninth but allows two to reach. Dustin Richardson will be given a chance to close this one out but Jonathan Papelbon is getting loose just in case.

End 8th, Red Sox 8-3: Scott Atchison will try to finish things off here for the Sox, who figure to pull within a game (two in the loss column) of the Yankees in the division.

Atchison has allowed four runs in 13 2/3 innings since May 28, striking out 11 in that span.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 8-3: Daniel Bard gets Jason Bartlett to pop to Kevin Youkilis and the Sox are now three outs away from their third straight win. The Yankees have already lost so this could be a pretty good night for Boston.

10:00 p.m.: The Rays have a pulse and we have another pitching change as Hideki Okajima is knocked around in the eighth. Willy Aybar hit a two-run homer and B.J. Upton emerged from the doghouse to rip a triple, showing some pretty good hustle in the process. Daniel Bard is on to try to end things in the eighth.

End 7th, Red Sox 8-1: Moments after Adrian Beltre rips a double to impove to 4-for-4, Bill Hall crushes his sixth home run of the season. With a comfortable lead in hand the Sox have turned things over to the bullpen. First up is Hideki Okajima.

Beltre's double pushed Kevin Youkilis to third and he scored on Jason Varitek's sacrifice fly.

Beltre is now flirting with the .350 mark (currently batting .349).

Mid 7th, Red Sox 5-1: Give credit to Darnell McDonald but even more criticism to Carl Crawford for how the top of the seventh came to an end.

With runners on first and second and two outs, Evan Longoria ripped a single to left that scored John Jaso with the Rays' first run.

Crawford, who was on first, rounded second way too far for some reason and McDonald alertly threw behind him to second. Bill Hall took the toss and tracked down Crawford to make the tag. Inning over.

Not sure where Crawford is going there. Getting to third base with two outs in the seventh inning and your team down four runs means nothing. If he stayed put, Carlos Pena would be up with a chance to pull Tampa Bay within a run if he ran into one.

End 6th, Red Sox 5-0: An infield hit for Daniel Nava adds another run for the Sox and John Lackey has plenty to work with here. He was in the dugout for quite some time so we will see how that impacts him.

Nava's reward for the RBI is a prompt removal from the game. He was replaced at first base and now in left field by Darnell McDonald.

9:19 p.m.: Dan Wheeler does his job, striking out two straight with the bases loaded. Lance Cormier is coming on to face Daniel Nava, a curious move considering both Wheeler and Cormier are right-handers.

9:10 p.m.: That decision to pitch to David Ortiz in the fifth will haunt James Shields. And we said earlier how it has been the home run ball that has hurt him this year. Perhaps unable to get past it, he unravels here in the sixth and is removed trailing 4-0.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 3-0: That's what you want to see from your starter after putting up a three-spot. John Lackey gets through the sixth with few problems. He has thrown 95 pitches through six.

End 5th, Red Sox 3-0: Joe Maddon gave James Shields the option. Walk David Ortiz, who has owned you in the past, to load the bases with two outs and pitch to Kevin Youkilis, who can't buy a hit off of you. Shields took on the challenge, and paid dearly for it.

Ortiz turned a first-pitch, 93-mph fastball into a three-run bomb, improving to 12-for-30 (.400) with three home runs against Shields.

Youkilis then struck out on three pitches to fall to 3-for-31 (.097) vs. Shields.

It seems he made the wrong decision, wouldn't you think?

Mid 5th, 0-0: Just get out of Adrian Beltre's way. It's in the best interest of everyone involved here.

For the second time in this game, Beltre – who was already put two outfielders on the disabled list — charges in like a bull for a popup. Jason Varitek, perhaps mindful of all the injuries, literally slid under Beltre as the third baseman came up with it for the second out.

Varitek offers a wry smile after the play, knowing he just escaped a broke rib.

After a Carl Crawford fly to left, Bill Hall showed a little of what he can do at second base by tracking down a ball in foul territory and making a pretty catch just in front of the wall.

End 4th, 0-0: Amazingly there has been just one 1-2-3 inning between the two pitchers. That came in the bottom of the third, when James Shields was perfect. The teams have combined to leave 10 runners on.

For the Sox in the fourth there were two stranded in scoring position when Jason Varitek looked at a called third strike.

Mid 4th, 0-0: We've been waiting for a John Lackey start in which he puts up a few more zeroes. We're getting it in this one, although the Rays' offense has been dormant of late. They have scored two runs or less in six of their last 11 games.

That's not intended to take anything away from Lackey. He is throwing strikes and working around the usual handful of hits.

Tampa Bay has five hits and a walk through four, but it has stranded them all. Lackey froze Jason Bartlett on a curveball to leave runners at the corners in the fourth.

End 3rd, 0-0: A nice little duel developing here between John Lackey and James Shields, who just mowed through the Sox in the third. Mike Cameron and Marco Scutaro were strikeout victims.

If this major league stuff doesn't do it for you, check out Jessica Isner's PawSox live blog.

Mid 3rd, 0-0: John Lackey can get the first out, but struggles to get the second. For the third straight inning a Rays hitter gets a one-out hit, this time a double into the triangle for Carl Crawford. For the third straight inning Lackey works around the hit.

Crawford was able to steal his 33rd straight base against the Red Sox before he was stranded on a pop out by Carlos Pena.

End 2nd, 0-0: Hours before the game began Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was rolling balls down the third-base line in order to judge the break, perhaps always keeping in mind the possibility of a squeeze play. In a shocking development, it is the power-hitting Red Sox who take a shot on such a play, to no avail.

Bill Hall's bunt with Adrian Beltre on third base rolls foul. A few feet to the right and it would've worked. Instead, Hall grounds out to end the threat.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: Another one-out single allowed by John Lackey, but another scoreless effort for the Rays in the second. Lackey enters this one tied for sixth in the AL in hits allowed and tied for ninth in wins. It's been that kind of year for the righty.

End 1st, 0-0: James Shields' recent struggles (1.4, 7.40 ERA in June) are due in large part to the home run ball. He has surrendered five in just 24 1/3 innings this month coming into this one and 16 overall. Aside from that the numbers remain solid with Shields striking out 92 and walking only 22 in 99 innings.

Shields avoids the longball, but does issue a two-out walk to David Ortiz in the first. No real correlation with my notes there, just felt that his recent slump is not as bad as it looks.

Mid 1st, 0-0: With Carl Crawford on first base with a one-out single, we turned our attention to his streak of 32 straight successfully stolen bases against the Red Sox, a run that dates to 2005. John Lackey was so concerned about it he threw away a pickoff attempt, allowing Crawford to reach second.

Lackey also issued a two-out walk to Carlos Pena but stranded both runners when Ben Zobrist grounded to first.

7:05 p.m.: As we watch new Bruins Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton throw out the first pitch, the Red Sox have made official what we already knew — Victor Martinez is on the disabled list and Gustavo Molina was brought in to take his spot on the roster. No, he is not another Molina brother, but we have some tidbits on him.

This Molina is a 28-year-old native of Venezuela who has played in the majors with the Chicago White Sox, Baltimore and the New York Mets. He is just 4-for-34 (.118) with an RBI in his career but did go 5-for-5 while playing with the big club during spring training games this March.

Molina was batting .239 with three homers and seven RBIs in 21 games for Triple-A Pawtucket.

He is also your starting catcher Friday night when Tim Wakefield steps to the mound.

6:36 p.m.: Tampa Bay manager said he simply decided to sit down B.J. Upton for this one, but did not say it was because of his issues Sunday. Sure, Joe. Sure.

For all you Bruins fans, Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton, the team's newest additions, will be throwing out the first pitch(es).

5:20 p.m.: With updates on several players, it might be best to itemize each of these tidbits. So take a look at the latest on the walking (in most cases) wounded.

  • Victor Martinez has his thumb in a splint. Terry Francona said Martinez "had no chance of catching in the next week or two" and gave a slight hint that the healing process could extend beyond the 15 days.

"Hopefully come through the All-Star break he'll be very close to being ready," Francona said. "That would be the hope. We'll see. Just gotta give that a little time to heal…the bright side is that this thing is not going to be long term."

  • Dustin Pedroia will not put any weight on his left foot for 2-3 weeks. After that period he will be re-examined and then start "the gradual progression toward baseball activities based on the healing," Francona said.
  • Clay Buchholz is feeling much better and with the many days off the club has will be able to target Monday, July 5, for a return to the rotation. If he is unable to go that day, then Tuesday will be the target. If Buchholz is still not ready, then that would be the day the club would need to make a move.

"If we get to Tuesday and he's not ready to pitch then we'd obviously have to make a move because that would be our fifth day in row [with a game]," Francona said.

  • Jed Lowrie may be activated to begin a rehab stint with the Lowell Spinners by Saturday, although that is not set in stone. If he does return then, it doesn't mean he will be back with the Sox playing second base anytime soon, although he would be a nice piece to bridge the gap until Pedroia comes back.

"He needs to play a little bit," Francona said of Lowrie, who came down with mono in March. "He's been down for quite awhile. He's gonna need every bit of those 20 days [of rehab]."

  • Jeremy Hermida had another day of swinging at soft toss in the cage and is getting closer. The next big step for him will be to take batting practice on the field.

"He's been doing all the other things pretty aggressively, outfield drills, baserunning," Francona said. "The swings are the last to come but I think he feels pretty good about himself."

  • Eric Patterson is with the club and on the roster. Francona said he figures to get time at second, left and center. The plan, for now, is to continue with Bill Hall, Patterson and Angel Sanchez filling the void at second until Pedroia returns, with Hall slated to see almost all of the action.

"[Patterson] and Billy Hall, Sanchez to a certain extent, Billy more than anything," Francona said of the second base rotation for the next month or so. "Try to have a combination that works."

  • Finally, Gustavo Molina, the replacement on the roster for Martinez, will catch Tim Wakefield's knuckleball Friday against Baltimore at Fenway Park. Molina caught Wakefield during a side session in spring training and just Thursday did a side session with Wake. Molina has also caught Dodgers' knuckleballer Charlie Haeger before, so he is familiar with the pitch.

"See the ball all the time until it's inside the glove," Molina said of the key to catching the knuckler.

OK, that should keep you occupied for a bit.  We will have more on all of this in a bit.

4:25 p.m.: Dustin Pedroia was lounging with crutches by his side, Clay Buchholz was preparing for some light throwing, Jeremy Hermida was finishing up a round of soft toss in the cage and Terry Francona had to carry a list into his session with reporters so he had something to refer to on all of the injured bodies. Such is the scene at Fenway Park on Tuesday afternoon.

We have updates on all three and many more to send over in a bit. For starters, here is the Red Sox lineup:

Marco Scutaro, SS
Daniel Nava, LF
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
J.D. Drew, RF
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jason Varitek, C
Bill Hall, 2B
Mike Cameron, CF

3:05 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where the Rays are taking some early batting practice. No fisticuffs yet.

It will be interesting to see how Tampa Bay responds to their little dust-up in the dugout the other day. I would think that if this was a team that had not tasted success, say the 2007 Rays, then that might've just sent them into a deeper funk.

But these guys have been a dominant team already this year, they remain pretty healthy and it may be just a matter of getting a couple of guys going, B.J. Upton being one of them. It's just a gut feeling, but I think they will respond in a positive way.

Currently, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon is rolling balls down the line at third to test how bunts will play. He seemed satisfied and retired to the Rays clubhouse, which we will try to visit at some point after getting you all the injury updates from the Red Sox side, including official confirmation of Victor Martinez to the DL, if and when it comes.

Lineups should come in a bit, too.

8:30 a.m.:A banged-up Red Sox club forges ahead against a healthy but sparring Tampa Bay Rays unit when the rivals hook up for the first of two games at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.

The road team has won each of the seven meetings between the teams thus far, with the Sox claiming three straight in Tropicana Field just over a month ago, a series which helped send the Rays into a bit of a tailspin.

Including that series, Tampa Bay — which swept four in Fenway over Patriots' Day weekend — has gone 12-19 to sink from first to third in the American League East.

Add in a brouhaha in the dugout between Rays stars Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton on Sunday and you have a Tampa Bay team searching for a turnaround.

Perhaps recalling what they did here back in April will help. In four victories over the then-dormant Sox, the Rays outscored the hosts 24-9.

John Lackey opposes James Shields in the opener of the quick set. First pitch is 7:10 p.m.

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