The Red Sox suffered their sixth loss in seven games Thursday night thanks to a sloppy sixth inning which cost them four runs.
The blame for this game will ultimately land on John Lackey's shoulders, but the actual pitching on offer was fairly impressive. It took the veteran hurler just eleven pitches to strike out the side in order in the first, and it wouldn't be until there were two outs in the first inning that he allowed a baserunner. Lackey would get through the fourth without damage as well, while the Red Sox gave him a pair to work with between the third and fourth.
The first sign of trouble would come in the fifth. A one out triple to the wall in center field by Oswaldo Arcia set up Aaron Hicks, who doubled him home in the next at bat. What seemed like it could be the start of a big inning fizzled out, though, when Lackey struck the next two out.
The sixth, however, would not fizzle out. It started with a single from Joe Mauer, and then continued with a one-out walk to Justin Morneau. A ground ball back to the mound from Trevor Plouffe could have ended the inning, but Lackey fired wide of second and into the outfield, allowing one run to come in. A sacrifice fly to right led to another run, despite a tremendous throw from Shane Victorino that seemed to have Morneau caught at the plate. The very next pitch, however, was the real blow--a two-run homer that made it 5-2 in favor of the Twins.
When the Red Sox picked up hits in the first two at-bats of the bottom of the sixth, resulting in a third run, it seemed like the lead might be short-lived. Kevin Correia and Brian Duensing quickly retired the next three batters, however, and were unable to mound any truly significant attack over the final three innings, leaving them still down by two when the ninth inning ended.