John Lackey, A.J. Pierzynski Mesh Well; Other Notes From Red Sox’s Win

A.J. PierzynskiThe Red Sox’s victory over the Texas Rangers on Sunday at Globe Life Park in Arlington put Boston back over .500 for the first time since April 3.

The Red Sox took two of three from the Rangers over the weekend, and they’ll now travel to Minnesota for three games on the heels of three straight series victories. Things finally appear to be clicking for Boston after a slow start to the club’s World Series defense.

John Lackey earned his fifth win of the season Sunday. Let’s go over what else transpired in the Lone Star State.

— Lackey gave up two earned runs on seven hits over seven innings. He struck out nine, didn’t walk anyone and once again was very aggressive in pounding the strike zone.

“I thought he was outstanding once again,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “He got a number of big strikeouts to end the fifth and the seventh (innings). Any kind of threat that they posed, he was able to get a strikeout in key moments. He pitched with a lead very effectively, didn’t issue any base on balls to contribute to (their attack) inside of a given inning. He just kept entire control of the game today.”

— A.J. Pierzynski has caught all eight of Lackey’s starts this season, and the battery mates seem to be developing a good rapport.

“He’s an aggressive game-caller, and I think I pitch pretty aggressively, so I think we mesh pretty well,” Lackey said. “I think he’s running on with the rhythm thing. When things are flowing like that, it does help to throw strikes, for sure.”

— The Red Sox tallied three runs in the first inning. Mike Napoli connected on an RBI double after an intentional walk to David Ortiz, and Pierzynski plated two runs with a single into right field.

— Napoli extended his career-high on-base streak to 31 games.

— Dustin Pedroia hit his second home run of the season. His average is up to .289 following a two-hit performance.

— Xander Bogaerts snapped an 0-for-15 skid with an infield single in the ninth inning. The 21-year-old had a defensive miscue in the seventh inning, so the growing pains certainly are continuing.

— Andrew Miller struck out two in a scoreless eighth inning.

— Koji Uehara recorded his ninth save in nine opportunities. He struck out two hitters as part of a Koji-like, perfect ninth inning.

— The Red Sox continue to beat up on southpaws.

The Sox are 10-4 this season against left-handed starters. They are averaging 5.3 runs per game in those contests while hitting .264 with 12 homers and 76 walks.

— Will Middlebrooks was scratched from the Red Sox’s lineup shortly before the game because of hand soreness. The 25-year-old was struck on the hand by a pitch in the eighth inning of Saturday’s game.

The injury doesn’t sound all that serious, but the Red Sox obviously will monitor Middlebrooks’ status.

“He was in the cage swinging early and felt like he couldn’t really fire with the swings, so (for) precautionary (reasons) we kept him out,” Farrell said. “We’ll see how he feels on Tuesday. If there’s added tests or imaging that’s needed on that, we’ll take a look at it at that point. Today was as much precautionary as anything, and we’ll take a look on Tuesday.”