Red Sox rally from four down to beat A’s
BOSTON – John Lackey had just struggled to make it through the sixth inning when Victor Martinez offered him some encouragement.
“He told me to hang in there, and he was going to take care of me,” Lackey said. “He did. It was pretty cool.”
The Red Sox catcher had four doubles – and five hits in all – driving in the go-ahead run after Oakland walked the bases loaded in the sixth inning on Tuesday night and the Red Sox rallied from a four-run deficit to beat the Athletics 9-4.
The five hits matched a career-high for Martinez, and the four doubles tied a major-league record matched only three other times by a catcher since 1952.
“It’s not that I had a feeling, but we just never quit,” said Martinez, who was batting .227 on May 18 but has had multiple hits six times in nine games since then. “I’ve been in a big hole since the start of the season. But I never lost my confidence.”
Lackey (6-3) spotted the A’s to a 4-0 lead before Adrian Beltre hit a three-run homer in the fifth. In the sixth, Bill Hall reached on a leadoff walk and then Darnell McDonald and Marco Scutaro both tried to sacrifice bunt but wound up walking as well.
Hall scored to tie it on Dustin Pedroia’s double-play grounder, then Martinez’s line drive one-hopped into the stands to make it 5-4. Hall added an RBI triple in the seventh, and Martinez also hit an RBI double and scored in the eighth, when the Red Sox added three more runs to take a 9-4 lead.
“We dug ourselves a little bit of a hole and didn’t panic, didn’t get frustrated,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “Beltre’s hit was huge. Lackey … you look at numbers, and we certainly do, but I don’t think you can measure the way a guy almost wills himself, the way he competes, to give us a chance to win.”
Lackey gave up four runs on 12 hits and four walks while striking out two, but the Red Sox won their third straight and for the eighth time in their last 10 games.
“We did have a nice little lead going against Lackey,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “I thought we had a real good offensive approach, made him pretty hard, got some big hits. They got back in that game with a three-run homer and worked Gio pretty good.”
Gabe Gross had three hits for the A’s, who had won five of their previous six games. Tyson Ross (1-4) inherited a 4-3 lead when he relieved Gio Gonzalez at the start of the sixth, walking both batters he faced before Craig Breslow came in to face Scutaro.
Pedroia doubled in the eighth to snap an 0 for 17 slump, then scored on Martinez’s fourth double of the game. Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew added RBI singles to make it 9-4.
Daric Barton hit a two-run homer for Oakland in the third. The A’s made it 4-0 when Ryan Sweeney doubled and scored on Jack Cust’s single, then Cust scored on Mark Ellis’ bloop double to right.
But the Red Sox got back in the game in the fifth on one swing from Beltre, who had three hits.
After Martinez doubled off the Green Monster and Youkilis singled off third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff’s glove, Beltre smacked the ball so hard off the Monster Seats that it bounced much of the way back toward the infield. Gonzalez got Drew on a meek check-swing bouncer back to the mound to end the inning.
“Lackey did a great job,” Gonzalez said. “You tip your hat off to a guy who battled all the way through. He didn’t give up and he finished on top.”
NOTES: The start of the game was delayed 20 minutes due to rain. … Boston OF Mike Cameron got the day off because of abdominal soreness. Cameron had two doubles on Sunday. He missed 34 games with abdominal pains earlier in the season. … OF Jacoby Ellsbury (ribs) took some swings in the batting cage on Tuesday. … Bleachers fans with an eye toward the NBA finals broke out in a series of half-hearted “Beat L.A.!” chants throughout the game. … Opponents are hitting .128 against Manny Delcarmen, which is best among AL relievers. … Gonzalez, who took a shutout into the fifth inning, allowed three runs on seven hits and four walks while striking out five. … Martinez is the first catcher with four doubles in a game since Sandy Alomar did it in 1997, for Cleveland against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
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