There will not be a four-game losing streak -- not just yet at least.
Losers of three straight, having not lost more than three and a row all of last year, the Red Sox were on the verge of losing four straight for the first time since the end of the disastrous 2012 season, but that will have to wait as the Sox topped the Rangers 5-1 Monday night at Fenway Park.
With all the talk of the team not hitting with runners in scoring position, Jackie Bradley Jr. went 3-for-3 with runners in scoring position, knocking in the first two Red Sox runs. The first came in the second, scoring Xander Bogaerts and the second came in the fourth when he knocked in A.J. Pierzynski, both singles.
"He executed well offensively, obviously with his RBI single in his second at bat, but two very good defensive plays," manager John Farrell said. "The one that he slid in on, that ball was in the lights and he was able to take an angle where he was able to get underneath it well enough so he could pick it up out of the lights and the ball off of [J.P.] Arencebia to the track, he made a good running catch. It's just good to see him getting in the flow of things and in the mix. It's been a different first ten days of the year for him, but I think you talk so many times about the importance of right field here and the defense out there. Tonight he was very good."
Bradley Jr. was also involved in the third run, coming in the eighth inning. His bunt single was made worse by second baseman Donnie Murphy's throw going over first base, allowing Pierzynski to score his second run of the game. The Sox plated two more in the inning accounting for their fourth and fifth runs.
The Red Sox finished with 14 hits as a team, led by Mike Napoli, Pierzynski and Bradley Jr. who had all had three hits. Even more impressive was out of the 14 hits, David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia didn't have any.
John Lackey delivered another quality start by a Red Sox pitcher going seven full innings, allowing one run (unearned) on five hits while striking out five. The Rangers threatened in the seventh with runners on second and third and two outs, but Lackey got J.P. Arenciba to ground out ending the inning and the threat.
"He was outstanding tonight, he made a number of big pitches, with men in scoring position, no bigger than the final out in the seventh inning," Farrell said. "A couple of times he picked up the defense when there was an added 90 feet given, he picked up his teammates once again for the second time this year."
Chris Capuano pitched a scoreless eight inning, followed by Koji Uehara in the ninth, who despite allowing two hits, didn't allow a run.
The teams will meet again tomorrow night (6:05, NESN) where Felix Doubront will be opposed by Martin Perez.
What they'll be saying: Even though it was just the seventh game of the season, it was as big of a win you could have to avoid the teams first four-game losing streak since when Bobby Valentine was the manager. Lackey was a big reason for that, delivering another strong performance, much like his first start in Baltimore. He did a good job of getting ahead in counts attacking the Rangers hitters. As usual he showed a lot of emotion following the out to get out of the jam in the seventh ... Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-4 in the win and has recorded hits in six of the first seven games and has an OBP of .448. Pedroia went 0-for-5, snapping his six game hit streak to start the year.