Four Real? The Bats Come Alive with the Sound of Runs Scored. 4-29-14

John Lackey braved the cold for the win.
Picture courtesy Boston Herald
Boston, Mass- When it rains, it pours. As the raindrops fell on the trademark Fenway dirt, the balls the Sox hit found enough holes to make swiss cheese. Boston combined for 13 hits and ran through five Tampa Bay pitchers to earn the win on Tuesday night. Here are the four at bats that changed the game:

1) Top of the sixth inning and Boston leads 1-0. John Lackey is cruising, but he hits a snag. He gives up a double to Desmond Jennings, then Matt Joyce hits a single to right to put two men on with one out. Lackey buckles down, gives up an RBI sacrifice to Evan Longoria, and then gets James Loney to ground out to the mound and avoid a major inning for the Rays. 1-1 tie.

2) Bottom of the sixth, and starter Erik Bedard is replaced by Brandon Gomes. Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes walk, and then, boom goes the dynamite. AJ Pierzynski singles to center to plate a run, Will Middlebrooks doubles to deep center to plate a run, and then Jackie Bradley doubles in Pierzynski and Middbrooks. Ten pitches later and it's 5-1 Boston. Later, Shane Victorino would hit a ground rule double to score Bradley and add to the lead. 6-1 Sox.

3) Top of the seventh, and if Tampa Bay wants a chance to come back in this game, they have to attack Lackey and get him out of his groove. They do rattle him, but not enough to scare the big Texan. With Will Myers on third, Ryan Hanigan takes a 1-0 fastball to left field for an RBI single to get it to 6-2 Sox. That is all they get, as Ben Zobrist grounds out to end the rally.

4) Top of the ninth inning, and Boston has the win wrapped up with the score 7-2. Or do they? With such a large lead, the Red Sox elect to bring in Edward Mujica after Lackey went eight strong innings. The choice turns out to be a mistake, as Tampa Bay is given life with Mujica on the mound. With one out and two men on, Yuniel Escobar grounds a ball deep into the hole to Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts would have been smart to pocket the ball, but he instead airmails one over the head of Napoli, allowing two runs to score and putting Escobar into scoring position. Manager John Farrell has seen enough, and he calls for Koji-time. Uehara needs all of three pitches, and Ben Zobrist swings at all three but doesn't make contact on one of them, and the game is over. Sox win 7-4.

It was great to see John Lackey with another great outing (back to back 8 inning starts!), and its always a good day when the Sox combine for thirteen hits and seven runs to beat an AL East foe. Tomorrow night is Dustin Pedroia Bobblehead Night when Chris Archer faces Felix Doubront at 7:10pm.

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