Game over: Red Sox 4, Puerto Rico 3: In an exhibition game against Puerto Rico’s team for the World Baseball Classic, John Lackey looked strong with three shutout innings. He allowed three hits without a walk and struck out two. Lackey threw 31 of 45 pitches for strikes against a lineup that included Angel Pagan, Alex Rios, Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina and Mike Aviles.
“I felt really good tonight. It was a really good day in the process. I feel like my arm strength is getting better,” Lackey said.
Will Middlebrooks and Mike Napoli had long home runs to left field. It was the second of the spring for Napoli. Ryan Lavarnway was 3 for 3 with two doubles. Mitch Maier and Stephen Drew also drove in runs.
The game drew 7,901, which wasn’t a sellout. But it was a lively crowd as the Puerto Rico fans sang, pounded drums and blew horns throughout.
Middle of the 8th: Red Sox 4, Puerto Rico 3: Another strong inning for Andrew Miller, who has looked good this spring.
Middle of the 6th: Red Sox 4, PR 3: Doubles by Ryan Lavarnway and Mitch Maier scored a run. Stephen Drew added an RBI single.
Middle of the 5th: PR 3, Red Sox 2: Napoli hit a high, high home run to left, the ball landing on the roof deck they have above the wall here. There does seem to be something to the idea that he will flourish at Fenway.
Middle of the 4th: PR 3, Red Sox 1: Lackey went three shutout innings and threw 31 of his 45 pitches for strikes. Solid outing against a good lineup. But Clayton Mortensen allowed three runs on four hits in the fourth inning. It might have been worse but Aviles was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on a double.
Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 1, PR 0: Middlebrooks went high over the wall in left center off Figueroa. Lackey allowed a single in the top half of the inning but that was it.
Top of 2nd: PR 0, Red Sox 0: Lackey allowed a one-out single by Falu then got two groundballs back to the mound. The first, off the bat of Rios, should have been a double play but Lackey threw wild and Drew made a nice play to get one out at second. Then Beltran tapped back to the mound.
Drew walked with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Napoli then hammered a ball to the left side but Gonzalez made a diving stop at third base.
Pre-game: There’s a small crowd at JetBlue Park for this game, which doesn’t count in the Grapefruit League standings. The fans are missing out as Puerto Rico is fielding a strong lineup that includes several All-Stars. John Lackey will be tested.
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