Four Real? Red Sox vs Dodgers 8-23-13

Former Red Sock Hanley Ramirez was the difference in Game One of
Boston's Friday game vs. L.A., hitting a homer to give his team a 2-0 win.

Jan-Christian Sorensen
Contributing Writer

Okay, L.A.: Round One goes to your Dodgers. Let’s call it a TKO.  

This heavyweight bout Friday night at Chavez Ravine was looking like a draw on the judges’ scorecards until the fourth inning, when former Red Sock Hanley Ramirez lit up John Lackey for a two-run homer to center that turned out to be the only scoring in the opening game of the three-game weekend set between the Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

L.A. starter Ricky Nolasco was a model of efficiency, tossing 66 of 101 pitches for strikes in eight innings of work, only giving out two hits while striking out six and walking none.

For his part, Boston starter John Lackey was far from lackluster — surrendering only two runs on three hits in eight innings, while striking out six and walking none — but his otherwise stellar outing still fell short of Nolasco, who completely handcuffed Boston to moved to 10-9 with a 3.42 ERA in earning the win.

Lackey, who came into the game with a 5-2 record and a 1.98 ERA against the Dodgers lifetime, took the loss to fall to 8-11 with a 3.17 ERA on the season.

It was a yet another pinch of par-for-the-course baseball for Los Angeles, which is on a 29-5 tear since the All-Star Break ended. The Dodgers, who have not lost a series in their last 18 matchups, are 46-10 overall since June 22.

Kenley Jansen came on in the ninth and struck out both Mike Carp and Jacoby Ellsbury with extreme prejudice before getting Shane Victorino to pop out to Ramirez to end the night and sew up his 22nd save of the season.

The only two hits recorded by the Sox on the night — both singles — came courtesy of Dustin Pedroia in the first and Stephen Drew in the fifth.

Other than that, it was a painfully short night for the Red Sox in a game that only took two hours and seven minutes to wrap up.

Wham. Bam. Thank ya, Han-Ram.

They were hard to come by, but here, for what it’s worth, are the four at-bats that changed the game:

1) Carl Gets It Started: If you read former Red Sox outfielder Crawford’s comments earlier in the day and you’re a Boston fan, this one stung: leading off the top of the fourth, Crawford — a key part of the Boston salary dump that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto out West last fall — laced a single to right and then promptly stole second base. It was Lackey’s 32nd stolen base allowed this year, which is the most in the majors.

2) Han-RAM: Two batters later, Hanley Ramirez — former Red Sox heir apparent at shortstop, before he was traded to the then-Florida Marlins for Beckett and Mike Lowell in 2006 — gave his former team an acute case of Seller’s Remorse when he crushed a Lackey fastball to center, driving in Crawford ahead of him for the 2-0 lead.

3) It takes One to know Juan: In Boston’s half of the fifth, Daniel Nava was hit by a pitch and Drew singled to right field to put men on first and second with only one out, but third baseman Will Middlebrooks promptly hit into a highlight-worthy, inning-ending double play started by his L.A. hot-corner counterpart, Juan Uribe.

4) Grand Theft Crawford: Crawford, who went 2 for 3 in the game, notched the third and final hit of the night in the sixth when he ripped a Lackey pitch to center for a single, and then again flipped the bird to his former team by stealing his second base of the night off Lackey.

Boston’s loss, combined with Tampa Bay’s 7-2 win over the Yankees, means the Sox and Rays are now virtually tied atop the American League East standings. Things won’t get any easier for Boston tomorrow, when Jon Lester (11-7, 4.09 ERA) is set to face Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-4, 2.95 ERA).

If’s any consolation, Boston fans, take heart in the fact we’ll at least escape La-La Land without having to face Kershaw or Greinke in this series.

Twitter: @jan_doh