Red Sox-Padres Live: John Lackey Goes Eight Strong Innings As Boston Beats San Diego 4-1

John Lackey, Robinson CanoFinal, Red Sox 4-1: That’s a classic 2013 Red Sox win, folks. It has all the requisite parts.

John Lackey pitched eight strong innings, allowing just one run while striking out six. That’s a very 2013 John Lackey start.

Jose Iglesias went 2-for-3 with an RBI out of the No. 9 spot. That’s a very 2013 Jose Iglesias line, although Iglesias trying to stretch a single into a double later in the game showed his confidence may be rising even more. (He’s batting .415.)

Jacoby Ellsbury was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, and David Ortiz and Jonny Gomes both went 2-for-4 and scored a run. Koji Uehara closed it out by throwing some steamers that had the Fenway Park crowd roaring with each pitch, especially the last fastball, which got Nick Hundley as he swung out of his shoes.

Brandon Snyder is the real hero of the game, with his three-run double being the difference. He may be auditioning for more playing time.

The Red Sox had an excellent June, and they’ve started July off on the right foot. They’ll be back here tomorrow night for the second game of the set. We’ll see you then.

End 8th, Red Sox 4-1: The Red Sox had nothing doing in that inning, and this one will head to the ninth, with Koji Uehara coming in to further hone his closing chops.

Mike Carp pinch-hit for Brandon Snyder to close the eighth, and he struck out. Mike Napoli also struck out, and Jonny Gomes flied out. Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a walk mixed in.

Going back to Lackey, here’s some more evidence of what a turnaround he has had this year. He appears to be finding the form he lost as he struggled with injuries and then some.

Also, who was that giant on the field earlier? The picture we popped in the live blog of Kelly Olynyk with David Ortiz didn’t look too strange, but wait until you get a load of what Olynyk looked like next to Shane Victorino. Like we said: Not a great night for Victorino.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 4-1: Perhaps the craziest part of Lackey’s recent run is just how in control he is on the mound.

Lackey took care of Logan Forsythe (groundout), Carlos Quentin (strikeout) and Chase Headley (flyout) in that inning. He walked Chris Denorfia, and that’s the weird stat — Lackey has pinpointed his pitches so well recently that he hasn’t given out many free passes. That base on balls was his first walk tonight and marks just the fourth walk he’s issued in his past six games.

Lackey is up to 103 pitches, so his night is likely done, but he just won’t do anything to stop the narrative that he is a huge part of the Red Sox rotation this year. Of his 103 pitches tonight, 73 were strikes.

Dale Thayer is in to pitch for the Padres.

End 7th, Red Sox 4-1: Word here is that Angel Hernandez is the main man on the umpiring crew, which is why there’s some suspicion about that home run call. Credit at least has to be given for the umps shutting down the discussion pretty fast.

For those unfamiliar with Hernandez, he’s had a little bit of a history of some questionable calls.

That was the top of the frame, though. In the home team’s half, the Red Sox didn’t do too much. Dustin Pedroia walked and stole second, but he was stranded when David Ortiz flew out on a long fly to the left field corner.

Shane Victorino continued his poor night, striking out and putting his line at 0-for-4. Jacoby Ellsbury also struck out.

Junichi Tazawa is warming for the Red Sox.

9:25 p.m.: Here’s some more MLB news for you: Homer Bailey is pitching a no-hitter for the Cincinnati Reds against the San Francisco Giants. He’s made it through seven clean innings. Follow along here.

Meanwhile, in this game — which is moving right along — Joe Thatcher is in to pitch for the Padres.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 4-1: John Lackey’s gem was marred by what may be considered a controversial call in the seventh inning.

Jesus Guzman connected on the seventh pitch of his at-bat with Lackey and sent a fly ball toward the top of the Green Monster. There was some dispute over whether it was a homer or not, but the umpiring crew quickly made the call and gave Guzman the round-tripper. The ball was originally ruled a hit off the wall, but the crew overturned it and called it a home run without looking at replay. It appeared to be the right call according to replays.

That spoils the shutout, but Lackey is still going strong, with just 88 pitches tossed in his seven innings completed.

9:15 p.m.: Here’s some bonus “Around MLB” coverage: What do you give the greatest closer in baseball to commemorate his final year tormenting hitters in the big leagues?

For the Minnesota Twins, it’s the “chair of broken dreams” — a rocking chair made of bats Mariano Rivera has shattered. It’s as awesome as it sounds. See it here.

End 6th, Red Sox 4-0: Jonny Gomes did a number to the top of the W.B. Mason sign, and the Red Sox got him home on a Jose Iglesias single up the middle.

Boston failed to score more runs than that, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia popping out and Brandon Snyder grounding out, but the Red Sox have done a decent job with runners on this game. Getting the leadoff man home after he hits a double is a key part of having the best offense in the American League — and a winning club.

Iglesias did, however, end the inning when he was caught in a rundown trying to stretch his single.

The Twins are warming Joe Thatcher, a lefty.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 3-0: John Lackey is Mr. Economical. He needed just six pitches to take care of Carlos Quentin, Chase Headley and Kyle Blanks.

End 5th, Red Sox 3-0: Well, that was a tidy inning. Dustin Pedroia got on board with a walk, but he was erased on a steal attempt as Mike Napoli struck out. Combine that with a David Ortiz flyout, and it’s a quick one for Boston.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 3-0: The Padres may not win this thing, but, dang it, Pedro Ciriaco is going to steal some bases.

The new San Diego shortstop nabbed his second base in the top of the fifth, but he did it while John Lackey was cleaning out his teammates yet another time. Lackey had some hiccups, letting Nick Hundley reach on a double and Alexi Amarista single to left (Ciriaco took his place on a forceout), but Dustin Pedroia bailed out the Sox by hopping up for a nice grab of a Chris Denorfia liner to end the inning.

Lackey has thrown 65 pitches, 49 of them for strikes. He can go deep in this one.

End 4th, Red Sox 3-0: The Red Sox almost piled on some more runs. Jose Iglesias and Jacoby Ellsbury both poked singles, boosting Boston’s two hottest hitters. (Iglesias is batting .410. .410!)

Almost the entire Red Sox lineup got into the action in this frame. David Ortiz, who scored the first of the Red Sox’ three runs, started it with another sharp hit. It looked like a replay from the first inning, but it was not — Erlin gave Ortiz a pitch in the same exact spot in the fourth, and Ortiz came around at the same exact time to pop the ball in the same exact hole between first and second.

This offering was a slider, however, which may be why Ortiz only got one bag out of the hit. The solid contact only sent him to first, while his liner in the first inning off a two-seam fastball was good for two and then some.

Erlin followed that up by walking Mike Napoli. After Jonny Gomes battled for eight pitches and went down swinging, Saltalamacchia worked the count full then fouled off a couple before getting first base on a low offering.

Snyder then did his magic.

8:32 p.m.: In the battle of rookie vs. rookie, Brandon Snyder is the victor.

Snyder chased Padres pitcher Robbie Erlin from the game after clearing the bases with a double on the ninth pitch of his at-bat in the fourth inning. (Snyder was tagged out trying to take third, which is how it was a true “bases-clearing” double.)

Erlin had looked decent in keeping Boston batters away from home plate throughout the game, but his pitch count ballooned in his final frame, and the Padres have brought in right-hander Tim Stauffer, who started warming after Erlin walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia to load the bases.

Erlin got a mound visit after that walk and then worked Snyder hard. He got lucky when Snyder golfed a stinger into left field that fell just barely foul, but Snyder got him on the next pitch, popping his triple right over the B strong sign in center field to put the Sox up 3-0 in this one.

It’s not the first time the Red Sox have roughed up a rookie pitcher this year. The 12 rookie starters the Red Sox have faced this season have gone 1-7 with an 8.19 ERA — and none of them have made it past the sixth inning.

Erlin left having allowed five hits and three earned runs. He threw 93 pitches altogether, but just 57 of them for strikes. His control really got away from him in the fourth, where he lost a lot of his pitches to the outer part of the plate against the right-handed batters as the ball tailed away from his release.

The Red Sox will now try to add to the damage with two outs.

Mid 4th, 0-0: The Padres are making contact, but it’s not great contact. Lackey was in firm control in this frame, getting Carlos Quentin and Chase Headley on flies before ending the inning with a strikeout of Jesus Guzman that had Fenway Park agreeing loudly.

Kyle Blanks ripped a double, but it was more a well-placed double than anything — he whistled it right in the hole between Mike Napoli, who gave it a try with a dive, and first base.

Guzman couldn’t get him home, though, and the game remains scoreless.

Meanwhile, if you’re wondering whether the Red Sox were happy to see former teammate Pedro Ciriaco, here’s some photographic evidence suggesting that David Ortiz was pleased his compatriot was back in Beantown.

David Ortiz, Pedro Ciriaco

End 3rd, 0-0: Jacoby Ellsbury’s hit streak continues, and he’s got his 33rd stolen base of the season to go along as well.

Ellsbury popped a single through the second-base hole to get himself on base, and he nabbed second a few pitches later. That wasn’t it for the center fielder, though — he tagged up from second and bolted to third on a Shane Victorino flyout to right field (not a particularly deep flyout, either). When the guy is feeling it, he must be feeling it.

Ellsbury’s batting average is now .296, a nice hike from the season-low .241 he had May 20.

Dustin Pedroia couldn’t get Ellsbury home, though. He flew out to right, and that, coupled with Jose Iglesias grounding out to start the inning as well as Victorino’s out, means another bagel for Boston.

Mid 3rd, 0-0: John Lackey is just humming. While all the Red Sox pitchers have been more proactive this year about actually getting the ball to the plate sometime this century (we’re calling you out, Josh Beckett), Lackey’s pace tonight is among the quickest.

It seemed to be serving him well early on. In the first two innings, Lackey threw just 20 pitches — 18 of them for strikes. Those are bonkers numbers, especially for this guy. While Lackey was always a dependable force in the American League West, where he could be counted on for a dozen wins and a 3.50ish ERA, he’s a new man this season. If his numbers hold up for the rest of the season, he’ll have the best ERA (2.99), WHIP (1.20) and strikeout rate (.932 strikeouts per inning) of his career, outpacing his 19-9 season with the Angels in 2007.

The third inning provided some turbulence for the righty, though. First, he started off with two straight balls to Alexi Amarista before getting him to ground out.

Then, Pedro Ciriaco — of course! — outran a ground ball to get himself on first. He made the Red Sox pay a bit further during the next at bat, swiping second base, his fifth theft of the season.

But Lackey buckled down and got Chris Denorfia to swing on a three-ball pitch. His harmless fly ended the frame and keeps Lackey in good shape. He’s thrown 36 pitches through three innings, with four strikeouts.

Bottom 2nd, 0-0: With Will Middlebrooks still in Pawtucket (he’s not eligible to be recalled just yet, even if the Red Sox choose to do so), Brandon Snyder gets some major league at-bats. He had two hits in his six at-bats coming into this game, and he almost recorded another one on a liner into left-center field. Kyle Blanks had a bead on it, though, and ran it down for the final out.

That left a man stranded, as Jonny Gomes had reached base with a sharp hit off the bottom of the Green Monster. He turned and looked toward second, but the bounce toward Blanks was sharp enough that he was held on first.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia had already flied out to left, too, and a Napoli flyout to right to start the inning left the Sox with another blank frame.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: It’s another quick inning for John Lackey, who continues to be as sharp as they come for the Red Sox this season.

Lackey took care of Chase Headley, Kyle Blanks and Nick Hundley via flyout, strikeout and flyout, respectively. Jesus Guzman snuck in a double with two outs but was stranded on Hundley’s flyout.

Bottom 1st, 0-0: Dustin Pedroia’s star-shaped sprawl in the home plate dirt says it all for the Red Sox after that inning. Boston thought for sure it had a run on the board on a sharp double down the right field line by David Ortiz, but Nick Hundley got the tag in just the right place to deny a chugging Pedroia home plate.

It’s a shame, too, because Ortiz was really pushing as he went around the bases. He would have had third base easily if the inning hadn’t ended.

The double, which came off a perfect connection from Ortiz on what looked like the ball just dropping onto his bat, is the 500th for Big Papi in his career.

Pedroia had reached base with two outs by drawing a walk. That came after outs by Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino.

Ellsbury has an 11-game hitting streak going, and a few members of the Fenway Park crowd thought he was continuing it in the first inning when he put some wood on a shot to center. The hit was all fly and no ball, though, and Alexi Amarista pulled it in for the first out.

Mid 1st, 0-0: John Lackey almost did it again.

After making a habit of striking out the side in his last start, Lackey came out and mowed down the first two Padres he saw. He almost had designated hitter Carlos Quentin, too, but Quentin grounded out to end the inning.

Lackey’s strikeout of Chris Denorfia was particularly nice. Denorfia whiffed on a high offering, and Lackey looked completely in control.

7:10 p.m.: The Sox and Padres are punctual tonight. First pitch flies from John Lackey’s hand at 7:10, and we are underway.

Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe had a nice little nugget about Lackey’s last start. Abraham reports that Lackey won a year’s supply of gum from a company called 5 Gum because he struck out five batters in a row in his last start. “According to the company, that’s a case of gum, or 120 packs.” Baseball, folks.

7 p.m.: We’re just a few minutes from first pitch here, and it looks like a beautiful night for baseball. The sky is clearing a bit, and the players are taking the field.

6 p.m.: The Red Sox aren’t the only Boston sports team with players on the field tonight. The newest Celtic paid a visit to Fenway Park this evening, and someone even found a uniform to fit his seven-foot frame.

Check out Kelly Olynyk showing some Boston pride as he’s welcomed by David Ortiz:

Kelly Olynyk David Ortiz

Photo via Instagram/@redsox

5:45 p.m.: While we await the start of this fun affair, take a look at our weekly checkup on the Red Sox’ minor league situation. It’s fair to say that the Sox are clicking on all levels.

5:15 p.m.: Red Sox reporters are going to have to work the Google machine pretty hard today, because Boston doesn’t see the San Diego Padres very often. (It sounds like NESN’s Don Orsillo was brushing up himself before this one got started.)

Who the Red Sox are facing won’t change some other facts, though. Boston is bringing one of the best offenses in all of baseball into this game, which is just past the halfway mark of the season. The Red Sox have the best record in the American League and the highest run differential in the league (plus-80) through their 84 games.

Jacoby Ellsbury also carries an 11-game hit streak (batting .404 over that span) into this one.

4:55 p.m.: While we’re not going to pretend to be weather experts over here, a quick look at the sky tells us this much: There are clouds, and some of them are dark, but there’s still a good chance that we can sneak through this one without a thunderstorm.

It’s been that kind of summer in Boston, where the moisture is either hanging in the air like a cloud or dropping in the form of a storm. The forecast is calling for possible showers today, but parts of the sky are clear enough that hopefully a full day of ball is in order.

The official forecast is calling for “intermittent” showers and “isolated” thunderstorms, with temperatures in the low 80s. Sounds like a good night for baseball.

4:45 p.m.: There will be a lot of new faces for both sides tonight, but at least a couple of players have some kind of familiarity with the opponent.

Carlos Quentin is 8-for-13 (.615) against John Lackey in his career. He’ll be the designated hitter for San Diego tonight.

Lackey, meanwhile, has gone 16-8 with a 3.18 ERA in his 34 career interleague appearances, although just 3 1/3 of those innings were against the Padres.

3:58 p.m.: Here are today’s lineups:

Boston Red Sox (50-34)

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jonny Gomes, LF
Jarrod Salty, C
Brandon Snyder, 3B
Jose Iglesias, SS

John Lackey, RHP

San Diego Padres (40-43)

Logan Forsythe, 2B
Chris Denorfia, RF
Carlos Quentin, DH
Chase Headley, 3B
Kyle Blanks, LF
Jesus Guzman, 1B
Nick Hundley, C
Alexi Amarista, CF
Pedro Ciriaco, SS

Robbie Erlin, RHP

8 a.m. ET: John Lackey has been pitching just fine this season without cupcake opponents, but it still must be nice to get two straight starts against the middling National League West.

Lackey takes the ball for the Red Sox (50-34) on Tuesday night after putting up some career numbers his last time out at Fenway Park. In his last start, on Wednesday, he went seven innings and struck out 12 (matching a career-high) against the Colorado Rockies.

He’ll kick off the Red Sox’ three-game set against the San Diego Padres (40-43) on Tuesday. The game figures to be a battle of opposites, at least when it comes to the mound. While the 34-year-old Lackey, a right-hander, is coming off a season lost to Tommy John surgery and looking to fulfill a big contract with Boston (as he sports the best ERA and strikeouts per innings pitched of his career, mind you), San Diego’s Robbie Erlin, a left-handed rookie, is appearing in just his third big league start. He has pitched 15 innings this season, going 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA and 12 strikeouts.

The fun starts at 6 p.m. with Red Sox First Pitch, with the hometown team looking to get things going again after a day off. The game is set to begin at 7:10, and keep it here for all your news and updates until then and throughout the action.

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