Rapid Reaction: Sox 12, Royals 5
July, 27, 2011
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- On the day that the Red Sox decided that pitcher Clay Buchholz (lower-back strain) would not throw another bullpen session until he is examined by a back specialist sometime in the next few days, Boston was looking for starter John Lackey to continue his winning ways.
The veteran right-hander entered his 17th start of the season riding a three-game winning streak, and despite a rough start, it continued as Boston defeated Kansas City 12-5 Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
Lackey wasn’t spectacular but he got the job done with the help of an explosive Boston offense. He worked 5 2/3 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on 11 hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
Lackey should have started the game with two easy outs. But left fielder Yamaico Navarro misplayed a ball at the wall that fell in for a double by the Royals’ Alex Gordon, then third baseman Kevin Youkilis committed an error on the following batter.
With two on and no outs, Lackey struck out Billy Butler before teammate Eric Hosmer crushed a three-run homer.
Lackey surrendered two more hits in the first before getting out of it. He faced five batters in the second and finished the inning already at 45 pitches. He settled down and retired the next seven batters he faced before allowing a solo homer to Butler in the fifth.
Lackey tossed a total of 113 pitches (78 strikes) and improved to 9-8 on the season.
A GRANNY FOR PAPI: Designated hitter David Ortiz has unleashed an offensive fury of late and it continued Wednesday night. Already 0-for-2 on the night, he stepped into the batter’s box in the bottom of the fourth with the bases loaded and crushed a grand slam into the right-field seats beyond the visitors’ bullpen to give Boston a 10-3 lead.
It was the 10th granny of Ortiz's career and ninth with the Red Sox. He also registered his 1,000th career RBI with the Red Sox on the shot. Ortiz shares the second overall spot in franchise history for grand slams with Rico Petrocelli. Ted Williams holds the record with 17.
BAUER-ESQUE: Dustin Pedroia is a big fan of the television series “24” and its main character Jack Bauer, so it was fitting the Red Sox second baseman extended his hitting streak to 24 games Wednesday night with a solo home run in the bottom of the first. His streak is the longest by a second baseman in franchise history, and the longest in the American League this season. He’s hitting .406 (43-for-106) with one triple, nine doubles, eight homers, 18 RBIs, 26 runs and 11 walks since the streak began on June 29. Pedroia has reached base safely in 36 straight games.
UP NEXT: The Red Sox send right-hander Josh Beckett (9-3, 2.07 ERA) to the mound on Thursday afternoon (1:35) to face Royals righty Luke Hochevar (6-8, 5.29). Beckett earned his ninth win of the season in his last outing, allowing only one run in 7 2/3 innings against the Mariners. He’s also 6-0 with a 2.26 ERA in eight career starts against the Royals.