Thursday, June 17, 2010
Red Sox win then turn their focus on Celtics
By Joe McDonald
BOSTON -- On a night when all the focus around these parts was solely on the Boston Celtics and their Game 7 matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, the Red Sox dismissed the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-5 at Fenway Park to complete the sweep.
Red Sox starter John Lackey improved to 8-3. The right-hander worked six innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
“I think he’s going to get into a situation where he reels off a lot of zeros,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “In the meantime he continues to compete and successfully.”
Red Sox rookie hero Daniel Nava continues to impress. He has hit safely in four of his five major league games since making his debut last Saturday. After collecting three hits Thursday, he’s 8-for-18 with four doubles, a grand slam and six RBI. He posted a crucial RBI double in the eighth inning Thursday night to help the Sox to victory.
“We won and that’s something I’m up here to help do,” Nava said. “Fortunately we got things done tonight.”
“He’s had quality at-bats,” said Francona. “He went out tonight and looked a lot more comfortable in left field, he’s a little familiar out there. He swings at strikes and stays inside the ball really well and just gives you quality at-bats. That’s what [player-development staff] said he would do and he’s done every bit of that.”
Red Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen, who has been battling a stiff back of late, came up big in a bases-loaded situation in the top of the seventh inning when he struck out the Diamondbacks’ Mark Reynolds to end the inning and the threat.
“I know Tito is throwing me in those situations is giving me confidence,” said Delcarmen. “I just want to throw strikes and ended up giving up a hit trying to elevate but threw it right down the middle and wished I could take that pitch back. But I felt good and make my pitch when I needed to.”
Before the game Francona knew he wanted to stay away from relievers Daniel Bard and Ramon Ramirez, so it was up to Delcarmen to get the job done. He did.
“What Manny did, that was obviously an important situation,” said Francona. “You’ve got a guy who can hit the ball across two streets with a 3-2 count and runners moving – a lot going on there. That was huge.”
David Ortiz continues to swing a hot bat.
He has hit safely in the last six games, going 11-for-23. His two-run homer in the bottom of the third inning, a blast to deep center field for his 14th of the season, proved crucial.
“He looks like the old David. He really does,” said Francona. “He’s taking some ferocious swings. The ball is coming off his bat and you can tell he feels good about himself. We need that and we’ve said that all along. We’re a different team when he’s swinging the bat like that.”
After the win, the ballpark and clubhouse quickly cleared out and Francona was sitting in his office eating and watching the Celtics.