Red Sox Live Blog: David Ortiz, Josh Reddick Lift Red Sox to Series-Opening Victory in Seattle

Red Sox Live Blog: David Ortiz, Josh Reddick Lift Red Sox to Series-Opening Victory in Seattle

Final, Red Sox 6-4: The Red Sox have the left side of their infield go down with sore backs and then watch as their starter gives up four runs in the first four innings.

No problem. John Lackey settles down at the tail end of his start, the Red Sox hammer three big home runs and the bullpen closes the door once again.

Jonathan Papelbon gave up an infield hit with two outs in the ninth before putting an end to things. That gives Lackey his 11th win, tied with Jon Lester for the team lead.

That sets us up for a great pitching matchup Saturday night. It will be Josh Beckett against Felix Hernandez in another 10:10 p.m. affair. We’ll look for you then.

Mid 9th, Red Sox 6-4: Jonathan Papelbon is on one of the best runs of his career. He has saved 21 straight chances and own a scoreless streak of 11 innings, during which only two men have reached base, both on singles.

Surely, that won’t end against Seattle, right?

End 8th, Red Sox 6-4: A leadoff walk to a .177 hitter gets Daniel Bard into a tiny mess, but that slider of his does the rest.

Bard strikes out two of the final three hitters he faces, both on the slider, and Boston now aims for a little insurance for Jonathan Papelbon.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-4: Daniel Bard will face the 8-9-1 hitters in the Seattle lineup. That’s about all I have for you right now. Gotta get something to drink.

End 7th, Red Sox 6-4: And Daniel Bard does just what we thought he would do, making Miguel Olivo look overmatched. What a weapon. Bard, not Olivo.

12:38 a.m.: Franklin Morales allows the first two to reach, sees them both move up 90 feet on a bunt and then gets a huge out with a strikeout of Adam Kennedy.

Here comes Daniel Bard to try to make someone look silly, and more importantly end the threat.

12:25 a.m.: I didn’t expect to see John Lackey come out to start the seventh, but there he was. He only lasted two pitches, however, as a leadoff hit ends the night for Lackey.

Franklin Morales is on to face Mike Carp, who represents the tying run.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 6-4: David Ortiz now has seven RBIs in his last four games and is 11-for-19 (.579) over his last five.

The sac bunt by Dustin Pedroia prior to Ortiz’s hit was the first by a Red Sox cleanup hitter since 1990.

12:19 a.m.: An Adrian Gonzalez double, a Dustin Pedroia sac bunt and a David Ortiz single has led to a sixth run for Boston.

Jeff Gray is on in relief for Seattle.

End 6th, Red Sox 5-4: John Lackey has set down seven straight. He will pick up his 11th win if the bullpen can do its job.

We figure Lackey is done after 108 pitches. Franklin Morales was warming during the sixth.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 5-4: The home run ball is carrying the Red Sox tonight.

Josh Reddick is the third Boston hitter to go yard, following a Jarrod Saltalamacchia single with a deep blast to right. That’s the sixth of the year for Reddick and it gives the Sox their first lead, but it can’t hold a candle to this.

Meanwhile, John Lackey is in line for his 11th win. Amazing.

End 5th, Mariners 4-3: John Lackey has his first perfect inning, for sure.

He will head to the sixth with a pitch count of 99 and a short leash. Not literally. He won’t have a leash with him. Just that Terry Francona wont’ let him…oh forget it.

Mmmm…iced coffee…at midnight.

Mid 5th, Mariners 4-3: Jed Lowrie went from bench to starting at third to starting at shortstop to one of the early stars for Boston.

Not only has he handled several chances at shortstop, but Lowrie just slugged a very rare home run against a right-hander, taking Blake Beavan deep to right.

It’s Lowrie’s first home run of the year off a righty. He entered the night a .208 hitter in such situations.

End 4th, Mariners 4-2: Franklin Gutierrez came into this game 2-for-18 in his career against John Lackey. Mike Carp was 0-for-6.

Those two are a combined 4-for-5 with a walk and Carp has three RBIs after doubling in Gutierrez in the fourth.

Lackey has thrown two wild pitches, both of them councing right through the legs of Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Lackey’s probably not happy those got through, but that’s what you get when you throw nothing but breaking balls. Some will get in the dirt.

Lackey now has eight wild pitches this year, on track to hit double digits in that category for the first time since 2006. He already has a career high with 14 hit batters.

Justin Smoak suffered a fractured nose.

Mid 4th, Mariners 3-2: Aside from a misplay in right field the other night, which can be forgiven considering how little he has played the position, Mike Aviles has done some nice things in a Red Sox uniform.

He had a sacrifice fly in the first and just ripped a two-out single in the fourth. Aviles is 6-for-16 (.375) with a walk and a stolen base in his limited action.

Jacoby Ellsbury followed by fouling out to the catcher, so Aviles stayed put.

End 3rd, Mariners 3-2: Perhaps John Lackey can settle down a bit after working around a one-out single in the third.

There’s still that issue of pitch count, however. He’s at 61 through three, so six innings would likely be the absolute limit. With a day off yesterday, everyone is available out of the bullpen.

Mid 3rd, Mariners 3-2: It looked as though this see-saw situation might continue when Adrian Gonzalez walked with one out and Dustin Pedroia doubled him to third.

Not to beat a dead horse, but Blake Beavan seems to get outs in those situations.

He got David Ortiz on a pop to shallow center for the second out. No chance for the turtle-like Adrian Gonzalez to score from third on a strong-armed center fielder like Franklin Gutierrez.

Carl Crawford then flew to Gutierrez in deep right-center to end the frame.

End 2nd, Mariners 3-2: We should be done by sunrise in the east, or maybe by brunch.

John Lackey gives up three more singles and one more walk in the second. He does a good job of limiting the Mariners to just the one run by getting the final two outs with the bases loaded.

However, Lackey is already up to 49 pitches. Only 10 of those have been fastballs. He is living (and slowly dying) with breaking balls and off-speed stuff and not having much success.

Mid 2nd, 2-2: Not only does Blake Beavan cough up the lead in a heartbeat, but he loses one of the better players behind him in a scary incident.

After David Ortiz crushed his 24th homer, a bomb to straightaway center, Carl Crawford singled.

Crawford swiped second and moved to third when Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s one-hop smash to first caught Justin Smoak right in the face. Replays showed that it may have been buffered by the bill of his cap, but still got enough of him to draw blood and begin to produce some pretty good swelling around the nose.

Smoak was removed from the game and Mike Aviles had a sacrifice fly moments later.

End 1st, Mariners 2-0: When the fifth hitter you face results in the first out, you know your first inning did not go all that well. When that out is a 400-foot bomb, you have more proof.

Such was the case with John Lackey, who saw 25 Seattle hitters before giving up a hit in his last visit to Safeco Field. Lackey surrendered a leadoff double to Ichiro Suzuki, an infield hit to Franklin Gutierrez and, after a walk, a two-run single to Mike Carp.

Justin Smoak was that No. 5 hitter, and he sent Jacoby Ellsbury to the track in center. A great grab by Ellsbury rights the ship and Lackey gets out of the inning without any further damage.

Mid 1st, 0-0: I mentioned earlier that Blake Beavan gave up some hits (nine) in his first start against the Red Sox, but he consistently pitched well with men on, looking mature beyond his years.

The 22-year-old showed that ability again in the top of the first, overcoming an error that allowed Jacoby Ellsbury to reach to begin the game.

The scratches of both Kevin Youkilis and Marco Scutaro certainly makes the lineup a bit leaner. I think it has more of a chance to hurt the team defensively.

It’s one thing when two players who are at very different parts of the field are off, and managers will often spread out days off in that regard. For instance, if your right fielder needs a day, don’t give the center fielder a day off. If Adrian Gonzalez wants to sit, Dustin Pedroia ought to be in there. Boston has one whole side of its infield altered.

Lowrie is a downgrade from Scutaro at shortstop. Aviles has made just 30 career starts at third base, posting a pretty poor .909 fielding percentage.

They are major leaguers. They may make every play. But it’s certainly something to watch for.

10:10 p.m.: Blake Beavan starts Jacoby Ellsbury off with a strike. Keep it here all night for your in-game analysis.

9:45 p.m.: When the story is told of the 2011 Red Sox, August 12 will be remembered for the rash of sore backs.

About two hours after Kevin Youkilis is scratched with a sore back, so too is Marco Scutaro. Here, once again, is the adjusted lineup:

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Jed Lowrie, SS
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Carl Crawford, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Josh Reddick, RF
Mike Aviles, 3B

9:28 p.m.: With a career record of 126-90, John Lackey’s been on the better side of the column more often than not.

But he has never won six decisions in a row, a feat he can accomplish this evening in Seattle. He has won five in a row five times.

What has made this particular run pretty impressive is a 31/5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. That means that Lackey is living in the zone, but not getting killed for it. There have been some hits here and there, but when Lackey is on he keeps those to a minimum.

It will not always look dominant. It won’t always be the cleanest start. It doesn’t need to be. Lackey just needs to give the team a quality start and stay healthy. Considering where he was two months ago, the fact that the Red Sox can make that request and get reasonable returns is a huge development for this team.

We will see in a moment if it continues.

8:16 p.m.: According to Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe, the Red Sox have set their rotation for the upcoming Tampa Bay series, which should be as wild as two days at a ballpark can be (doubleheader followed by a day game the next day).

Jon Lester and Erik Bedard will throw in the doubleheader Tuesday. John Lackey will go Wednesday.

Andrew Miller was on target to make one of those starts, but with everyone in the rotation going strong and the team getting two days off in a span of five days, Terry Francona can afford to bump Miller. Abraham reports that Miller may get a start in the ensuing Kansas City series — because of the doubleheader, Boston plays 14 games in 13 days after Monday’s day off, so a sixth starter probably will be needed once during that span.

On a side note, the Aug. 24 game at Texas has been moved from 8:05 ET to 7:05 ET because it was picked up by ESPN2 outside of New England. If you are flying to Texas in August to take in a game, well, you’re crazy. It will be 120. Anyway, plan accordingly for the earlier start time.

7:38 p.m.: You wonder if Kevin Youkilis slept poorly on the flight to Seattle. It’s not often someone gets a stiff back after a day off. Perhaps he tweaked something during batting practice.

Whatever the cause, Youkilis has been removed with a stiff back and replaced in the lineup by Jed Lowrie.

Here is the new-look lineup:

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Jed Lowrie, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Carl Crawford, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Josh Reddick, RF
Marco Scutaro, SS

6:21 p.m.: And as we detail some of John Lackey’s solid, and interesting, history in Seattle (see post below), those lineups were posted.

Have a look, and make sure to take in a few numbers after each one:

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Carl Crawford, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Josh Reddick, RF
Marco Scutaro, SS

The Red Sox had a look at Seattle starter Blake Beavan last month. They had their chances — seven guys had hits, four of them doubles — but Beavan impressed with his ability to make pitches when he needed to. Ellsbury and Scutaro were the only two to have multiple hits against the very large right-hander that day.

Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Franklin Gutierrez, RF
Dustin Ackley, 2B
Mike Carp, DH
Justin Smoak, 1B
Adam Kennedy, 3B
Miguel Olivo, C
Luis Rodriguez, SS
Trayvon Robinson, LF

Ichiro is 30-for-98 (.306) against Lackey. He’s also 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts, which has been an issue. Actually, Ichiro led off a game against Lackey in Fenway Park last month with a single and then stole second and third before scoring on a single by Ackley.

Anyway, beyond Ichiro the lineup is a combined 12-for-78 (.154).

6:03 p.m.: As we await the lineups, it’s worth looking back on John Lackey’s last start in Seattle. It was as nutty a game as you will ever see. Well, maybe not ever, but it was rather bizarre.

One Mariner reached in the first inning against Lackey in that start in Safeco last July, but it came on an error by Bill Hall, who was playing second base that night (no Dustin Pedroia at that point).

In the second inning, Seattle got a leadoff walk to Milton Bradley, who then stole second, moved to third on a grounder to Hall and then scored on a passed ball. 1-0, Mariners.

After Boston scored three times in the third to grab its first lead, Lackey began the bottom half by hitting Jack Wilson with a pitch. To that point, three of nine Mariners had reached, but none on hits.

Ichiro Suzuki then lined one right back to Lackey, who doubled off Wilson at first. Those were the first two outs in a string of 17 straight outs for Lackey. He struck out two in the fifth, three in the sixth and took a no-hitter two outs into the eighth before Josh Bard, who finished that game hitting .189, singled to center.

Still, Lackey would leave after eight superb innings and with a 6-1 lead. Granted it came against a horrendous offense, but if you try to use that logic to belittle Lackey’s effort, then you might’ve forgotten that Seattle got to Manny Delcarmen and Jonathan Papelbon for five runs in the bottom of the ninth, sending the game to extra innings.

Then again, there were errors by both Hall and shortstop Marco Scutaro in that inning. Just wild stuff at Safeco. The Red Sox eventually won when Eric Patterson (remember him?) doubled in two runs in the top of the 13th and Ramon Ramirez got the save.

8 a.m. ET: Following a much-needed day off, the Red Sox return to action Friday night when they open a three-game series in Seattle.

Boston finished a run of 20 games in 20 days with a 13-7 record, capped by a 5-2 loss in Minnesota on Wednesday. The club’s lead in the American League East is one game over the New York Yankees.

John Lackey gets the nod, looking to keep alive a pretty solid run of his own. Lackey has won five straight decisions, posting a 3.58 ERA over his last six starts. The right-hander loved visiting Safeco Field during those many years pitching in the AL West — his ERA in this park over the span of 15 starts is 2.78.

Lackey lost a no-hitter with two outs in the eighth inning in his last visit to Seattle, a game last July that Boston eventually won in 13 innings.

The Mariners respond with rookie Blake Beavan. In his fourth major league start back on July 23, Beavan allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings at Fenway Park. He is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts since.

First pitch from Beavan is expected at 10:10 p.m.

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