The Red Sox did a lot of things right on Saturday, collecting 10 hits while John Lackey did exactly what the Red Sox brought him in to do. But it wasn't enough.
For the first six innings of the game, Lackey held the Athletics lineup completely in check. He pounded the strike zone, not allowing a single walk while striking out five batters before the seventh came around. That's when things fell apart a little.
A Marco Scutaro home run had given the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead before Ryan Kalish' RBI in the seventh gave Lackey a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the inning. After a Daric Barton leadoff double, one out singles by Jack Cust and Mark Ellis quickly tied the game before a two out triple from Rajai Davis capped the inning with the go-ahead run. It was half a case of the A's hitting good pitches, and half a case of Lackey getting shaken up with a high pitch count, but regardless of the cause, it was a lead the A's would not relinquish.
If the lead had stayed at just one, however, things might have gone differently. Instead, Daniel Bard came in and looked like anyone but. A complete lack of control led to four walks--one intentional--surrounding a single. It only resulted in the one run, but at this point one has to wonder why they keep running Daniel Bard out there to put more pitches on his arm.
With that lead up to two runs, the Red Sox couldn't quite pull through in the ninth inning. After two quick strikeouts, though, they tried their hardest. Victor Martinez pounded a double off the wall in right field before Adrian Beltre followed it up with a double of his own. With the tying run at second base, Terry Francona called on David Ortiz to bring it home, but after an eight pitch battle, a very wide strike call on pitch number nine sat Ortiz down to end the game.
It's Beckett vs. Braden tomorrow with a mid-afternoon start time to avoid the Patriots season opener, I imagine.