BOSTON (CBS) — It’s official: The Boston Red Sox will not go 0-81 at home during the 2014 season.
Not that it was ever a real possibility, of course, but it nevertheless took a few more days than anticipated for the Sox to pick up their first win of the year at Fenway Park. That wait ended Monday night with a thorough 5-1 win over the visiting Texas Rangers.
The team entered the night 6-for-44 with runners in scoring position in the young season but went 4-for-13 in that situation on Monday. And it wasn’t the big boppers who get the job done, as Jackie Bradley Jr. went 3-for-4 with two RBIs out of the nine hole.
For Bradley, who was demoted to Triple-A days before opening day only to be called up to replace the injured Shane Victorino, Monday marked the best performance of what’s already been a bit of a whirlwind start to the season.
“I still go to the lineup card every day to see if I’m in the lineup that night,” Bradley said. “That’s pretty much what I try to do every single day. I try to come to the field and prepare myself the best I possibly can to get ready to play a game. It’s very important and I will always keep that mind-set, just because there’s no need to focus on things that you can’t control. I think you do the best of your capabilities when you try to control the things you can.”
It was David Ortiz Bobblehead Night at Fenway, but Ortiz went 0-for-5. Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-5 as well, though he drove in a run while grounding into a fielder’s choice in the eighth.
Instead, it was the bottom of the Sox order that did the most damage. A.J. Pierzynski went 3-for-4 after going 0-for-the-weekend against Milwaukee, Jonathan Herrera went 1-for-2 with a walk, and Bradley had his big night at the plate, which included a two-out single to drive in the game’s first run.
“He stayed in the middle of the field and more than anything, when he’s gotten some pitches on the plate, he hasn’t missed them all that much, in terms of a foul ball or squaring a pitch up,” manager John Farrell said of Bradley. “I think more than anything, he’s just staying in the middle of the field and getting some base hits out of it.”
The offensive performance was all backed by the work on the mound of John Lackey, who allowed just one unearned run in his seven solid innings of work. He’s now 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA, his best such marks through two starts of any season of his in a Red Sox uniform. It’s a continuation of the complete turnaround Lackey embarked on last year, and he looks even better in 2014.
“All to the credit of John Lackey. He’s reshaped himself, he’s reshaped his approach to the game,” Farell said. “He set out to change a perception that was formed over the first couple of years here, and he had to do it first by his performance on the field. Coming back from Tommy John [surgery] and putting himself in great physical condition, he’s the one that’s at the root of that turnaround.”
Bradley also managed to shine in the field, making a sliding catch while battling the light tower to end the second inning and keep a run off the board and making an impressive catch over his shoulder while sprinting toward the right field fence to record the second out of the Rangers’ third inning.
“It’s just good to see him get in the flow of things and get in the mix,” Farrell said. “It’s been a different first 10 days of the year for him. But I think we’ve talked so many times the importance of right field here and the defense out there, and tonight he was very good.”
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