Drew touches Tillman for decisive blow

BOSTON -- The way Red Sox starter John Lackey pitched in Thursday night’s 3-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles, there wasn’t much need for the run support that’s typically been absent for him all season long. In fact, shortstop Stephen Drew provided all the runs Lackey needed with one swing of the bat in the second inning.

With a man on second and one out, Drew launched a first-pitch, opposite-field home run off Orioles starter Chris Tillman to give the Red Sox an early two-run lead. The home run was Drew’s 13th of the season and first since Sept. 4 against the Detroit Tigers.

“Just trying to be aggressive,” Drew said of the at-bat. “Wanted to get a pitch I could drive and I was able to do that and put a good swing on it.”

The home run, which just snuck over the Monster, was only the second the Red Sox have hit off Tillman in his career, a span of 57 1/3 innings. Entering Thursday’s game, the 25-year-old right-hander was 3-0 in four starts against Boston this season with a 1.42 ERA.

“He’s been so good against us for the first [four] times that he’s started, so there was some familiarity,” manager John Farrell said. “When we got pitches up in the strike zone, we were able to not miss them.”

“He’s a sneaky guy; he’s thrown the ball well all year,” said Drew, who added a triple off Tillman in the sixth to go 2-for-3 on the night. “If we could get a run right there to get things going, it’s huge. It worked out for us tonight.”

The win earned the Red Sox a spot in the postseason for the first time since 2009, and Drew didn’t hesitate to speak fondly when asked about how far the team has come this season.

“I know what this team, the last two years, has done -- and to be a part of coming over here first year and the guys that we had and coming into spring training, it’s fun,” he said. “It’s great to come to the clubhouse every day; it’s fun to come to work.”