Red Sox overcome bullpen woes as Saltalamacchia’s grand slam lifts Boston

BOSTON — For the third consecutive game the Red Sox bullpen let the team down by allowing runs in the late innings as Friday night it was Craig Breslow, but once again the Red Sox offense was able to bail the bullpen out as Jarrod Saltalamacchia crushed a grand slam in the seventh inning, snapping a four-all tie, giving the Red Sox an 8-4 win over the Yankees at Fenway Park.

The first three hitters in the seventh inning reached and after a Daniel Nava strikeout it was Saltalamacchia’s time to shine. It was the second time in three days where the Red Sox have had a game-winning grand slam, as Wednesday night Mike Carp hit a grand slam in the 10th inning in their win over the Rays.

“It was a huge swing in the seventh,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell when asked about the grand slam. “I thought early on we had a great approach against [Hiroki] Kuroda. The first two innings we drove up the pitch count and then he settled in. He’s a very good pitcher and was able to get into the seventh inning. We have the ability to show the resiliency when they score the two to tie it … we’re getting big hits and it’s been spread around and I thought just a very good offensive approach tonight.”

Kuroda wasn’t sharp early on and the Red Sox took advantage by scoring four times in the first inning. Carp’s RBI ground out scored Dustin Pedroia for the first run, which was followed by a Nava single, plating David Ortiz. Following a Saltalamacchia walk, Stephen Drew capped off the scoring with a two-run double giving the Sox a 4-0 lead. Kuroda eventually settled down as between the third and sixth innings he retired 13 of 15 Red Sox batters.

The Red Sox led 4-2 in the seventh when Breslow entered the game with runners on first and second and one out against the top of the Yankees order. Following a strike out of Curtis Granderson, he walked Alex Rodriguez, which set up a bases loaded and two out situation for Robinson Cano. Cano laced a double to right center scoring two runs and tying the game at four. The runs were charged to Lackey, but it was Breslow who couldn’t get the job done.

Lackey gave the Sox a solid start tossing 6 1/3 innings allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out three. Brandon Workman got the Red Sox out of the seventh inning, Junichi Tazawa pitched a scoreless eighth and Koji Uehara closed the door in the ninth.

The weekend series will continue tomorrow afternoon (1:05, FOX) where Jon Lester will take on CC Sabathia.

What they’ll be saying: The Red Sox have been able to hide their middle relief issues of late by getting clutch hits like Saltalamacchia’s Friday night. It was the eighth grand slam of the season for the Sox, which is the most in baseball. It was also the fourth in the month of September, which is the most ever by the club in the month and tying the all-time single-month high … Although Lackey allowed four runs, he pitched better than that would indicate as two came in the seventh inning when Breslow allowed the double to Cano. He has a 5.76 ERA against the Yankees this season spanning four starts, compared to 3.19 against all other clubs … Uehara has been perfect in nine straight save opportunities, matching the longest streak in major league history.


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