After defeating Baltimore yesterday 10-3, the Boston Red Sox were looking to win their fifth consecutive game and clinch the four-game series against the Orioles. They would have to do it with the struggling John Lackey on the mound, who had given up at least five runs in two of his last three outings. Tonight, he finished off the first half of his season on a very good note.
Lackey recorded one of his best outings of the season on Saturday night, as he went six and two-thirds innings, giving up no runs on three total hits while striking out seven Orioles hitters. Lackey gave up just the one walk and a hit batsman. Here we go again.
Before he exited the game, Lackey did sort of "get back" at the Orioles by plunking Derrek Lee on an 0-1 pitch with two outs. This capped a wonderful outing from Big John this evening, an outing that I think we all needed to see from him. Not to say all is forgiven, but his performance this evening was somewhat encouraging.
Orioles starter Alfredo Simon seemed to match Lackey through the first four innings. Though they left a total of five base runners on base through three innings, the Red Sox offense finally broke through in the fifth.
With Dustin Pedroia on the bases and two outs, Simon decided to walk Adrian Gonzalez intentionally to get to Kevin Youkilis. As he's done many times this season, Youkilis came through with two out by delivering an RBI double that brought in Pedroia from second base, 1-0 Red Sox.
Still not out of the inning, Simon decides to intentionally walk David Ortiz to get to Josh Reddick. Once again, a bad idea. Reddick made Simon pay by coming through with a two-run RBI double to bring in Gonzalez and Ortiz. 3-0, Red Sox.
Youkilis contributed an insurance run in the seventh inning with another RBI double to make the game 4-0. That is all the Red Sox would need in this one, taking it easily after a couple of shutout innings from Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon.
The Red Sox will go for the series sweep on Sunday, as young Kyle Weiland will make his major league debut with Boston, going up against Mitch Atkins of the Orioles. First pitch at 1:35 p.m.