Lackey pitches 4 scoreless innings, Red Sox win

Posted March 07, 2011, at 7:30 p.m.
Last modified March 07, 2011, at 9:12 p.m.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — John Lackey is slowly putting his repertoire back together this spring, and he’s right where he wants to be so far.

Lackey limited Baltimore to one hit in four scoreless innings and the Boston Red Sox beat an Orioles split-squad 6-5 on Monday.

“(I’m) happy with fastball location today,” he said. “(The) rotation of my four-seam fastball was nice. It was nice and true. (I) still haven’t started throwing my cutter yet, probably ready to do that next start. It was a good step forward.”

Lackey threw 29 of his 39 pitches for strikes, then went to the bullpen for 16 more pitches.

“He was commanding very well,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “His touch and feel look so good. That was nice to see.”

It was a very different day for Baltimore starter Chris Tillman, who yielded three runs and four hits in the first inning — including RBI singles by Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew — then retired the side in order in the second and third.

“You know, actually, I felt great that first inning,” Tillman said. “That’s where I needed to be. We’ve made some minor adjustments in the side session and I thought what better time to work on them than now. I thought that inning was the best I felt.

“Just the two pitches — the one to Youkilis and J.D. Drew — were the only ones that really got away.”

Yamaico Navarro singled in Oscar Tejeda with two out in the ninth to send Boston to the win.

Manager Buck Showalter, in his first full season with the Orioles, guided the team. He also planned to run the night game against the New York Yankees at the Orioles’ complex in Sarasota, about a 90-minute drive away.

“I was proud of our players over here today,” Showalter said. “They competed against a good team and a good lineup. They weren’t intimidated. They came over and let it fly.”

Tillman is competing for a roster spot with Zach Britton, who was scheduled to start against the Yankees.

“I think that goes into the friendly competition (category),” Tillman said. “You see someone go out there and be good, which I want him to do good, but at the same time I want to do better. I think I’ve talked about that the last two, three years, that friendly competition word. I think it’s a great thing in baseball. I think it helps everybody.”

NOTES: Red Sox LHP Jon Lester, who missed his scheduled start Sunday because of an illness, threw three innings in a simulated game. He is expected to make his next scheduled start Friday against the Twins.

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