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John Lackey (right) and the Red Sox got the better of David Price in a
7-4 victory over Tampa Bay in Game Two of the American League
Divisional Series at Fenway Park on Saturday (USATSI image)

Jan-Christian Sorensen Contributing Writer

Boston took a stranglehold in its American League Division Series with Tampa Bay on Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park, holding off the Rays 7-4 to go up 2-0 in the best-of-five matchup.

Dustin Pedroia went 1 for 3 at the plate but drove in three runs, David Ortiz hit a pair of solo bombs in a 2-for-4 night and Jacoby Ellsbury was 3 for 4 with one RBI and three runs scored as the Sox out-hit the Rays 11-8.

John Lackey threw 95 pitches — 62 of them strikes — in five and a third innings, striking out six and walking three while giving up four runs on seven hits for his first postseason win since 2009.

Unlike many of his starts in the regular season, the lanky righthander’s teammates provided him with plenty of support both at the plate and out of the bullpen.

Craig Breslow held the Rays hitless in 1.2 innings of relief, Junichi Tazawa pitched a scoreless eighth and Koji Uehara collected his first save of the playoffs by striking out two of the three batters he saw in the ninth before getting newly minted Fenway whipping boy Wil Myers to ground out to first to end the game.

Rays starter David Price — who tossed nine innings of seven-hit, two-run ball in the Rays’ 5-2 wildcard tiebreaker win over the Texas Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington five days ago — was roughed up by the Sox over seven frames this time out, surrendering seven runs on nine hits while walking two and giving up a pair of homers.

Your good news stat of the day: in division series history, teams that have gotten off to a 2-0 advantage have gone 38-5.

Here are the four at-bats that changed the game:

1) More-tiz: Big Papi put the Red Sox up 2-0 in the first when he lashed a pitch off Price deep into the bullpen in right center — which was caught by reliever Franklin Morales and then quickly fed to the bleacher creatures — for a solo jack, his first long ball of the 2013 postseason and the 13th of his storied playoff career. It was also his first postseason home run since 2008.

2) In Through The Out Door: In the third, Dustin Pedroia grounded into what could have been a routine double-play but when Shane Victorino’s slide into second base upended Ben Zobrist, Jacoby Ellsbury crossed the plate to give the Red Sox a 4-1 lead and put Pedroia safely on first without a throw.

3) Lackey Sack: After Yunel Escobar singled in Desmond Jennings to bring Tampa Bay within two runs and cut Boston’s lead to 6-4 in the sixth, John Farrell called an end to starter John Lackey’s night, bringing in Craig Breslow, who went on to coax a fly out and a ground out from the next two batters to end the inning.

4) Pesky Opponent: In the eighth, leadoff man David Ortiz lofted a David Price fastball high and deep to right, staying just fair of the Pesky Pole for his second homer of the game and putting the Red Sox up 7-4. It marked Big Papi's first career multi-homer game in the playoffs.

Both Tampa Bay and Boston will use Sunday as a getaway day and look toward Monday, when the Rays will open Game Three of the ALDS at Tropicana Field by sending Boston native Alex Cobb (1-0 and 0.00 in 6.2 innings in the playoffs and 11-3 with a 2.76 ERA overall in 2013) to the hill against fellow righty Clay Buchholz, who makes his first start in the postseason after going 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 16 games for Boston in 2013.

Buchholz, who will be pitching on nine days rest, recorded a 2.41 ERA against the Rays this season. Cobb, meanwhile, posted a 4.19 ERA in 2013 against the Sox, who won all three series at the Trop this year, going 6-3 overall.

Twitter: @jan_doh

Jan-Christian Sorensen 10/06/2013 05:23:00 AM Edit
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