BOSTON — John Lackey offers a rather simple explanation when asked about his team’s ability to avoid a losing streak of more than three games.
“I just think it’s a consistent mindset overall,” the veteran right-hander said after his seven strong innings helped the Red Sox end a three-game skid with a 5-1 win over the Texas Rangers on Monday night. “I think we’ve got guys that come to work and take today as today.
“We’re not worried about what happened yesterday — just to go out and play the best you can today; and that consistent mindset leads to some pretty good results at the end.”
Last season, en route to winning the World Series, the Red Sox lost three games in a row five times, only once dropping an entire three-game series. Monday night, Lackey, with some help from his friends, notably young outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., put an end to the three-game losing streak after the Red Sox were swept by the Milwaukee Brewers at Fenway Park over the weekend.
Lackey has been great in his first two starts. He gave up only an unearned run and five hits in his seven innings and has yielded two earned runs in 13 innings in starting off 2-0. This after a 3-1 postseason.
Safe to say Lackey has won over a Fenway fan base that didn’t like him very much before he missed the 2012 season with Tommy John surgery. In short, he’s back.
“We had some opportunities against Lackey, but he showed why he’s one of the best pitchers in the American League,” said Texas manager Ron Washington. “He made pitches when he had to.”
Bradley, a center fielder playing right field with Shane Victorino on the disabled list, had three hits, delivered his run-scoring singles in the second and fourth innings against right-hander Tanner Scheppers (0-1) and made two nifty catches.
He had a bunt single that turned into an eighth-inning run when first baseman Prince Fielder threw the ball away. Left fielder Daniel Nava’s RBI single and a groundout by second baseman Dustin Pedroia scored Boston’s other runs.
Bradley is 4-for-7 with runners in scoring position on the young season — an impressive number on a team that has struggled in that department. Bradley has four of the team’s 10 hits (in 57 at-bats) with runners in scoring position.
Boston left-hander Chris Capuano worked the eighth, and right-hander Koji Uehara threw a two-hit ninth. The closer pitched in a non-save situation after Boston broke the game open with three runs in the eighth.
Both teams finished the night with 3-4 records.
Schepppers, making his second career start, allowed two runs on nine hits in five innings, but was better than his first start, when he gave up seven runs in four innings.
First baseman Mike Napoli grounded into one of the Boston double plays, but he singled each of his next three times up. Center fielder Grady Sizemore, who also grounded into a DP, had hits his last two times up. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski also had three singles, his first three home hits in a Red Sox uniform after going 0-for-8 over the weekend.
In addition to his error, Fielder went 0-for-4, leaving him hitless in his last 12 at-bats, and with two hits in his last 19 trips.
“Obviously I want to get out of it but we’ll get ‘em tomorrow,” he said.
Washington challenged a call in the first inning, when his shortstop, Elvis Andrus, flubbed a throw from second baseman Donnie Murphy. It looked as if Andrus lost the ball on the transfer, but the call on the field was “safe,” and it was upheld, leaving Washington 1-1 in challenges.
NOTES: The Rangers placed LHP Joe Saunders on the disabled list with a bruised foot and recalled RHP Daniel McCutchen from Double-A Frisco. RHP Colby Lewis, who is working in the minors and can be a free agent if he’s not summoned by Thursday, is a candidate to replace Saunders in the rotation. … The Red Sox signed INF Ryan Roberts as a free agent, and he was in uniform Monday night. He is slated to platoon at 3B with Jonathan Herrera with Will Middlebrooks on the DL. INF Brock Holt was sent back to Triple-A Pawtucket after spending one day in Boston when Middlebrooks hit the DL. … To make room for Roberts on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox moved RHP Steven Wright (sports hernia) from the 15- to the 60-day DL. … Texas LHP Martin Perez faces Boston LHP Felix Doubront in the second game of the three-game series Tuesday. … Rangers LHP Matt Harrison is slated to make his second minor league rehab start Tuesday. His first start, last Thursday, was rained out after two innings. … Texas 3B Adrian Beltre turned 35 on Monday.