Extra Bases

Wrapping it up from Fenway Park

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It was not a game worthy of an eloquent recap. But good teams find ways to win bad games and that’s what the Red Sox did tonight.

John Lackey has given up six or more earned runs 26 times in his career. This was only the second time he was the winning pitcher. It takes some skill to do that, or at least some perseverance. He stuck around long enough to give the Red Sox a chance to score some runs and set up their bullpen.

Lackey’s effort also allowed Manny Delcarmen, Ramon Ramirez and Scott Schoeneweis some rest in case they’re needed in the second game of the series. With Daisuke Matsuzaka on the mound, those seem like good odds.

A few things that caught my eye:

* Jonathan Papebon got an out with his slider tonight, using it to induce a groundout from Aaron Hill. He has mixed his pitches well this season, something he very much needed to do after becoming too fastball-happy (and predictable) last year.

* Alex Gonzalez is hitting .270 with 13 doubles and 10 home runs. He had 22 doubles and eight home runs all of last season. Perhaps this will prove to be a career season for him. But the Red Sox made the right move with Marco Scutaro regardless. He seems to do something to help the offense almost every night.

* That long stretch of rest they gave Hideki Okajima (one batter faced from April 26 to May 5) seems to have helped. He has been perfect in his last three appearances.

* Darnell McDonald (3 for his last 24 with nine strikeouts) is coming back to earth as scouting reports catch up to him. Mike Cameron’s return to health is well-timed. My suspicion is that he’ll return to the lineup on Friday in Detroit.

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* Meanwhile, you might want to cancel the calling hours on the season. The Yankees lost today and the Rays are losing. That would leave the Sox 5.5 games behind the Rays and five games behind the Yankees with 129 left to play.

Lots and lots of baseball left to play. The Red Sox have won 13 of their last 20 despite injury and inconsistency. It’s turning like a big old Cadillac with a busted axle. But it’s turning.

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Thanks to everybody for reading and commenting today. We’ve gone from dozens of comments to hundreds in just a few weeks. It’s cool to see a social network developing here.

Speaking of which … stay tuned tomorrow for a special announcement at 11 a.m.

We’re also going to have our weekly live chat at noon, so be here for that.

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