Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quickie Lone Star Sports Chowdah Update for Aug 23rd: Texas-sized Innings Help Sox Stay Ahead of Rangers

Didn't seem that long ago, word of John Lackey starting would make any Red Sox fan worth their salt cringe.

After getting shut out by the Rangers by a 4-0 final Monday night, Lackey got the start for Boston Tuesday going opposite Colby Lewis. And Boston would have to find a way to win without Youkilis or Big Papi (although Ellsbury returned to the lineup for the 1st time in 3 games).

Things started pretty badly for Lewis when Ellsbury got on board with a single to open up the game and then came home on 1B Adrian Gonzalez's 1-out 2-run homer. Boston would then double their lead with an RBI double from former Rangers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and a Marco Scutaro sac fly in the 2nd. From there, the Red Sox got 2 more as Carl Crawford brought home Josh Reddick and an RBI-double from Ryan Lavarnway to make it 6-0 in the top of the 3rd.

The Rangers were persistent and after giving up three straight singles, Lackey gave up his first run of the night thanks to a bases loaded walk to Elvis Andrus in the bottom half of the inning. The Rangers would go on to cut the lead in half after Josh Hamilton and Micheal Young had back-to-back RBI sac flies to make it a 6-3 game.

However, the Red Sox would start to pull away once again with a 2-out solo homer to Adrian Gonzalez in the top of the 4th. Although Josh Hamilton would get a home run off of Lackey in the bottom of the 5th, the damage was limited to one run after Jacoby Ellsbury ran down a fly ball from 2B Ian Kinsler and Marco Scutaro made a close play at short to get SS Elvis Andrus out at 1st base before Hamilton's at-bat.

Lackey would last 6 and ⅔ innings and depart with a 7-4 lead over the Rangers. Closing the game out wasn't so much a job for the bullpen as it was for the bats on Tuesday night as Marco Scutaro and Dustin Pedroia each had 2-RBI doubles in the top of the 8th.

Boston would go on to win by an 11-5 final (Ian Kinsler would get a solo homer off of Dan Wheeler in the bottom of the 9th). Adrian Gonzalez went 3 for 4 with 2 home runs and 3 RBI on the evening and after a frequently awful start to the season, Lackey is 12-9 with a 5.98 ERA.

The win sets up a rubber game tomorrow where Josh Beckett (10-5; 2.46 ERA) goes on the bump against Matt Harrison (10-8; 3.28 ERA). After missing nearly a week with bursitis in his right heel, it's possible that DH David Ortiz could rejoin the team's lineup on Wednesday.

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