Red Sox starter John Lackey figured out eight of the Phillies’ starting nine Wednesday night in Philadelphia; he just couldn’t solve the ninth.
Left fielder Raul Ibanez went 3-3 against Lackey, driving in both runs in a 2-1 Phillies victory over the Red Sox. It was Boston’s sixth loss in their last eight games.
Ibanez Remains Lackey’s Nemesis
Ibanez entered Wednesday’s game a career .352 hitter against Lackey with six RBIs. After center fielder Shane Victorino doubled to lead off the second, Ibanez dropped the very next pitch into center field to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead.
Ibanez followed up his single with a two-out double in the fourth, then struck again in the seventh. With the game tied 1-1, Ibanez golfed an 0-1 curveball over the right field fence to take the lead for good. His three-hit night raised his career average against Lackey to .386.
Lackey’s inability to stop Ibanez cost Boston the win, but his overall pitching performance was his best since April. He pitched 7.2 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and a walk. He struck out five, throwing over 70 percent of his pitches for strikes. He threw first-pitch strikes to 23 of the 30 batters he faced. His fastball painted the corners, getting 18 called strikes, and his curveball broke with a sharp 12-6 motion that Phillies hitters swung over without contact.
Lackey may have picked up his seventh loss of the year, but he took over half a run off his ERA. The Red Sox have to be encouraged by this outing.
Red Sox Bats Quiet Yet Again
Phillies pitching stymied the once-unstoppable Red Sox offense for a second straight night. The Red Sox managed just five hits off Phillies starter Vance Worley, who struck out five and walked two in seven innings.
Josh Reddick singled twice for Boston, including with one out in the fifth inning with the Red Sox down 1-0. Worley retired Marco Scutaro (2-17 on this road trip) to get to Lackey, who Worley quickly got down 0-2. Lackey worked the count full, then slammed a down-and-in fastball to the gap in left-center for a double. Reddick scored from first to tie the game 1-1. It was Lackey’s fourth career hit.
Worley dominated the Red Sox for his other six innings, allowing just two lead-off baserunners: Reddick in the third, who was stranded when Worley retired the next three Red Sox, and Dustin Pedroia in the fourth, who was retired on a double-play. He threw a career-high 116 pitches, then gave way to Michael Stutes and closer Antonio Bastardo, who pitched perfect eighth and ninth innings for the hold and save.
Ibanez’s home run in the bottom of the seventh gave Worley the “vulture win,” his third win of the season. For the third straight start, Worley allowed fewer than two runs.
Ortiz’s Addition Causes no Errors but Adds no Oomph
Needing to do something to reignite Boston’s offense, Terry Francona risked bad defense and possible injury by playing David Ortiz at first and Adrian Gonzalez in right. The decision did not hurt the team defensively: Ortiz fielded the only ball hit to him Wednesday and caught all 11 balls thrown to him by the infield, including two for double plays.
Gonzalez did not have to make a catch in right field, but cleanly fielded two singles hit through the infield. He leaped for a deep Chase Utley (2-3) flyball with two outs in the eighth, but it bounced off the top of the right-field fence, well above the reach of any outfielder. Utley made it to third base, chasing Lackey, but did not score.
The addition of Ortiz may not have hurt the team defensively, but neither did it help the team offensively. Gonzalez went 1-4 and grounded into a double play. Ortiz went 0-4.