No call for backup

Lackey refuses to blame mates

John Lackey took the loss for the Sox after giving up two runs on seven hits over six innings. John Lackey took the loss for the Sox after giving up two runs on seven hits over six innings. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)
By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / May 1, 2011

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If he could have, John Lackey probably would have loved the chance to go over to the bat rack in the Red Sox dugout, select a nice piece of lumber, and shove aside whoever was in the batter’s box at the time to take a whack at it himself.

Given the way he pitched in last night’s 2-0 loss to the Mariners, Lackey was certainly owed the opportunity to hit after the Sox went 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position against a trio of pitchers.

“I’m not going to comment on all that,’’ said Lackey, who dropped to 2-3 despite holding the Mariners to two runs on seven hits over six innings. He allowed four walks and struck out three while throwing 113 pitches, 63 for strikes.

Asked about Lackey’s performance, Sox manager Terry Francona noted, “A lot of deep counts.’’

“Saying that, he gave up two runs in six innings,’’ Francona said. “On a lot of nights, we’re commending him for not giving in and throwing his breaking ball behind the count and getting back into counts. But we just didn’t do anything offensively.’’

If Lackey was at all frustrated with his offense’s lack of production, he did his best to camouflage those feelings.

“We got a lot of guys with a lot of good track records on the offensive side,’’ he said. “That thing will get going. As pitchers, we’ve just got to keep handling our business. We’ve got enough to worry about on our own.’’

Boston’s offensive shortcomings with men in scoring position — the Sox are hitting .212 (52 for 245) in such situations — seems to have acutely impacted Lackey, as the Sox have scored only five runs in his three losses. Still, he managed to run his streak of scoreless innings to 15 by getting out of a first-inning jam, which he exacerbated with his throwing error on a pickoff attempt of Ichiro Suzuki at second base.

With no outs, Lackey buckled down and struck out the next two batters before getting out of the inning by getting Miguel Olivo to ground to shortstop.

He stranded another runner in the second inning, before giving up a run in the third on Milton Bradley’s double down the left-field line. It scored Suzuki, who walked and went to third on Chone Figgins’s single to right.

Lackey held the Mariners to that 1-0 lead until the sixth when he gave up another run on Jack Wilson’s sacrifice fly to center.

“Felt pretty good. Made some pitches,’’ Lackey said of his night. “First run, had a ball hit right on the line on me, and then the shift kind of got me on the second run, so what are you going to do?’’

The only thing he could do was continue to pitch.

Although he said his fastball command wasn’t what it was in his last outing, a 7-0 win in Anaheim, Calif., last Sunday, Lackey felt his breaking ball “was pretty good.’’

“I was able to locate that pretty well and threw that quite a bit,’’ he said.

So much so, he tried to lobby for one more inning of work.

“He wanted to stay out there, and I thought he was effective,’’ Francona said. “But just didn’t want to get in a position where we ended up — we don’t have any days off here for a while and we’ve got to keep these starters on track.’’

Michael Vega can be reached at

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