Victorino goes 4-for-4 in victory
BOSTON (AP) – Never one to take a lot of time between pitches, John Lackey had extra motivation to throw quickly and get out of the biting chill at Fenway Park.
Lackey pitched eight solid innings with temperatures in the low 40s and Shane Victorino batted
4-for-4 as the Boston Red Sox beat the slumping Tampa Bay Rays 7-4 on Tuesday.
“I try to work fast,” Lackey said. “Especially when it’s cold, I’m trying to get guys in the dugout. It wasn’t a whole lot of fun out there on the field today.”
Lackey’s teammates showed their appreciation with a five-run rally in the sixth as the Red Sox opened a three-game series with a win over their American League East rivals.
Victorino, a St. Anthony High School alumnus, hiked his batting average from .133 to .316. He also drove in his first two runs of the season. Victorino was playing in his fourth game after missing the first 22 with a hamstring injury. He singled in his first two at-bats, hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth and added an RBI double in the sixth.
“We knew it was going to take a couple of games for him to get his feet on the ground,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “He does give us a completely different dynamic in that 2-hole. When we can set the table for that middle of the order, we’ve got a chance to score some runs.”
Lackey (4-2) allowed six hits and two runs with one walk and five strikeouts. After the Rays scored twice in the ninth, Koji Uehara came in and struck out Ben Zobrist on three pitches for his sixth save.
Jackie Bradley Jr. had a pair of doubles and two RBIs as the Red Sox got 13 hits and won for the third time in four games. Xander Bogaerts was the only Boston starter without a hit.
“It was good to see the evenness throughout the at-bats 1 through 9,” Farrell said.
Tampa Bay lost for the seventh time in eight road games.
Wil Myers had two hits and scored a run for the Rays. James Loney hit two doubles and joined Myers as the only Tampa Bay players with more than one hit. Both scored in the ninth on a throwing error by Bogaerts at shortstop.
The Rays’ Erik Bedard permitted one run through five innings, but the bullpen could not stop the Red Sox in the sixth.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said both starters had good command, but it was a tough game for relievers to sit through the frigid conditions and then have to pitch.
“Bedard was good. I thought Lackey’s command was good tonight,” Maddon said. “It’s hard. It’s hard for both sides. The game was not meant to be played in this kind of weather. But you’ve got to fight through it.”
The Rays’ Brandon Gomes (1-1) allowed two runs while retiring just one batter and Juan Oviedo permitted three runs in two-thirds of an inning.