Sox show punch
Lackey is given plenty of support
As newcomers relatively unfamiliar with Duck Boat parades, perhaps Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford should consider witnessing first-hand how Boston fetes its champions.
While the Bruins will be the toast of the town today, Gonzalez earned his share of praise by leading the Red Sox to a 10-4 victory over the Brewers last night before a Fenway Park crowd of 37,833.
Crawford leaves game with strained left hamstring. C2
“I can’t say that I’ve ever been in a city that’s won a major league championship — a professional championship,’’ said Gonzalez, who hinted he might be among the revelers along the Bruins’ parade route. “So it should be fun to watch.’’
Gonzalez provided ample entertainment going 3 for 4 and reaching base in each of his first three at-bats. He scored three runs and delivered a leadoff home run off reliever Marco Estrada in the fifth, breaking a 4-4 stalemate. It was his 15th homer of the season, giving him 62 RBIs.
Gonzalez, who has reached base in 17 straight games and is batting .415 (27 for 65) with 8 doubles, a triple, 6 homers, and 17 RBIs in that stretch, spearheaded Boston’s 14-hit barrage that helped out John Lackey (5-5, 7.02 ERA), who won for the third straight time since coming off the disabled list.
With closer Jonathan Papelbon starting his reduced two-game suspension, Lackey went eight innings, allowing four runs on eight hits. He had no walks and struck out five, throwing 111 pitches (81 for strikes). He retired 15 consecutive batters before allowing a one-out single to Nyjer Morgan in the eighth. Matt Albers pitched the ninth.
After a shaky start, in which he gave up a pair of runs on three hits, Lackey settled down. Milwaukee counterpart Shaun Marcum wasn’t as fortunate, departing the game with a left hip flexor strain following a 44-pitch first inning.
“I actually thought early in the game, his stuff was really crisp,’’ Francona said of Lackey. “He didn’t locate a ball to [Casey] McGehee for the two runs [in the first], but the ball was coming out of his hand really well. We come back and score right away, which was important, and then he settled into the game, didn’t walk anybody, kept the ball down, changed speeds, and pitched really effectively.’’
The Sox erased a 2-0 deficit in short order when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a leadoff homer off Marcum. With two out, David Ortiz tied it up with an RBI double to right that scored Gonzalez, who had reached on a single to left.
The next batter, Crawford, reached on an infield hit to third base, but had to come out of the game with what manager Terry Francona called a “Grade-1’’ strain of his left hamstring.
“We certainly need to reevaluate that and see what we’ll do,’’ Francona said.
The Sox put up two more runs in the second against Estrada, who wound up giving up three runs and four hits over four innings.
The Brewers, the leaders of the National League Central division, tied it with a pair of runs on four hits (all singles) in the third.
Lackey was facing a bases-loaded jam with no outs after giving up three consecutive hits. The fearsome Prince Fielder, serving as the designated hitter, singled home a run to pull Milwaukee within 4-3 and keep the bases loaded for McGehee, who hit into a 4-6-3 double play, started by second baseman Dustin Pedroia’s marvelous diving stab.
“There’s nobody out and the bases loaded and that’s going to be a couple of runs,’’ Francona said. “That was the biggest play of the game. That’s the way Pedey plays. I don’t think anyone makes those plays.’’
Lackey responded by striking out Corey Hart with an 83-mile-per-hour slider, and retired the next 13 batters.
Ellsbury got Lackey out of the eighth when he charged in from deep center field to catch Ryan Braun’s shallow fly and alertly doubled off Morgan at first.
“I guess he thought I was going to dive for it,’’ Ellsbury said. “But I was able to get a bead on it early and make the throw.’’
The Sox tacked on a pair of runs in the sixth on a double by Jason Varitek and a single by Pedroia, and scored three more in the seventh against reliever Daniel Herrera. J.D. Drew’s two-run single made it 10-4.
The only question that lingered afterward was whether Gonzalez, still weary from the Sox’ 8-1 road trip, would get up to soak up the atmosphere of a championship parade. It’s a tradition he hopes to experience himself in the fall.
“I got my memorabilia,’’ said Gonzalez, who picked up some Bruins’ souvenir hats and T-shirts for himself and his former trainer in San Diego who will be in town with the Padres for a three-game set next week. “It’s great to know that this city is excited about that championship and our goal is to bring another one.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com.