BOSTON -- There were no bench-clearing brawls tonight between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles as a reaction to Friday’s melee, but the home crowd at Fenway Park witnessed a much-needed solid pitching performance by Sox starter John Lackey.
The veteran right-hander, who has been inconsistent for the majority of the season, worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed only three hits with one walk and seven strikeouts to help the Red Sox to a 4-0 victory. He tossed 106 pitches, 69 for strikes. Lackey also drilled two Orioles' batters and on the second one, he was given a warning, along with both benches.
His fastball had good life. He was locating, and his breaking pitches kept the Orioles off balance all night.
Lackey received a standing ovation when he exited the field with two outs in the top of the seventh inning.
With the win he snaps a three-game losing skid and improves to 6-8, while dropping his ERA to 6.84. It was no doubt his best outing of the season, and with the All-Star break coming up, it was a good way for him to end the first half.
ELLSBURY’S EN FUEGO: And it doesn’t appear he’s about to cool down anytime soon. Boston’s leadoff hitter went 3-for-4, including a single, double and triple. Ellsbury, a first-time All-Star this season, is batting .314 with 11 homers, 48 RBI and 28 stolen bases. On this current homestand, he’s 12-for-26 with 5 runs, 3 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs, 2 walks and 2 stolen bases.
YOOOUK: Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who was added to the American League All-Star roster on Friday, went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, two RBI and a run scored on Saturday.
PEDEY PILING ON: Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia went 1-for-3, but his double in the bottom of the seventh inning extended his current hitting streak to 11 games.
UP NEXT: The Red Sox send rookie right-hander Kyle Weiland to the mound for his major-league debut on Sunday afternoon against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park. He will face the Orioles’ Mitch Atkins (0-0, 1.50 ERA).
Weiland, 24, the former University of Notre Dame standout, is in his fourth professional season in the Red Sox organization after he was selected in the third round of the 2008 draft.
He’s 8-6 with a 3.00 ERA this season at Triple-A Pawtucket. In his last 10 starts for the PawSox he’s 6-2 with a 2.33 ERA and has allowed two or fewer earned runs in 14 of his 17 starts.
“He’s throwing the ball really well,” Francona said Friday. “He’s missing a lot of bats. He’s come up with a cutter, along with his breaking ball and fastball, he’s having a lot of success.”
Weiland has recorded 99 strikeouts in 93 innings this season, while walking only 37.
“He throws hard. He’s got a live arm and always has,” Francona said. “We’re excited about this.”