Lackey developed rhythm with Tek

June, 30, 2010
6/30/10
12:30
AM ET
BOSTON -- Red Sox right-hander John Lackey went seven solid innings in Tuesday night’s 8-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

One stat that didn’t show up on his final line might be most impressive. It was a zero, and it represented how many times he shook off catcher Jason Varitek’s initial sign.

That is a credit to Varitek, and reflects the confidence that Lackey has in him.

“His gameplan and feel were pretty incredible,” Lackey said after improving to 9-3 on the season. “He’s seen these guys more times than I have. I went with him and it worked out nicely.”

Lackey said he also received a boost from the team’s surging offense, which was sparked by a three-run homer from David Ortiz that broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning and was the decisive blow in a 10-hit attack.

“It’s fun to pitch on this team when we’re scoring runs and playing good defense,” Lackey said. “It’s a good mix right now.

As for his rapport with Varitek, Lackey said he didn’t think about shaking off any of his signs.

“Why would I?” he asked. “We were putting up zeroes. I wasn’t going to mess that up.”

Lackey threw 108 pitches, 69 for strikes. He scattered eight hits, surrendering one earned run, walking two while striking out three.

He acknowledged it was unusual to go through a game without shaking off one sign from his catcher.

“A little bit,” he said. “I’ve been around long enough that I usually have my own gameplan in mind. Last time we were in Tampa, I threw to Tek and we won there and I thought he had a nice mix against this team. It was kind of in my head going into the game to kind of go with him.”

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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