Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 10/5/14
John Lackey was up against the ropes early on Saturday. But a few counterpunches later, the Red Sox were on the attack, and they eventually outlasted the Orioles in a hard-fought battle at Camden Yards. Lackey entered Saturday’s start with a chance to really prove himself. Ryan Dempster pitched into the eighth inning on Friday, but with Jon Lester struggling and Clay Buchholz battling a neck issue, the Red Sox really need each of their No. 3-5 starters to answer the bell. And while Lackey stumbled out of his corner in the first inning, he pitched his heart out en route to earning a win in the Red Sox’ 5-4 victory. The Orioles jumped all over Lackey in the first inning. Nate McLouth singled to lead off the game, and he scored three pitches later when Manny Machado hammered his major league-leading 31st double of the season down the left field line. Two more singles and a wild pitch later, the Orioles held a 2-0 lead with still no outs in the game. At that point, it looked as if the Red Sox were destined to drop their third straight to the Orioles. A loss would have put Boston’s record against Baltimore this season at 1-5, and the O’s would have gained another game on the Sox and moved to within a half game of the American League East lead. None of that is particularly backbreaking this early in the season, but it would have further validated that the Orioles are becoming a thorn in the Red Sox’ side. Something strange happened after Baltimore’s two-run, four-hit attack to begin the game, though. Lackey settled down to retire the next three hitters — Chris Davis, Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy — to minimize the damage. And in the process, Lackey gathered some momentum. Lackey entered the game having surrendered two runs or fewer in eight of his first 10 starts. Through an inning, the chances of him accomplishing that feat again looked bleak. But sure enough, six innings later, Lackey walked off the mound with the Red Sox holding a 5-2 lead. Lackey found a groove after those first-inning struggles. He began to locate his four-seamer and cutter, and each time the Orioles started to gather some momentum, their rally was snuffed out. No inning proved to be more important to Lackey’s outing than the fifth. Taylor Teagarden reached with a leadoff, infield single after a ball ate up Jose Iglesias down at third base. He advanced to third and McLouth reached at first when Dustin Pedroia made a rare error on what could have been a double play. It was Pedroia’s first error of the season, and things undoubtedly appeared to be shifting in Baltimore’s favor. But Lackey pulled a great escape. Jarrod Saltalamacchia gunned down McLouth on a stolen-base attempt for the first out, and Lackey fielded a comebacker cleanly for the second out before Nick Markakis flied out to deep left to end the inning. In years past, the first inning, the fifth inning or even both — if Lackey lasted that long — probably would have spiraled out of control. That wasn’t the case this time around, and the Red Sox stopped the bleeding with a big win. Lackey needed to play the role of stopper, and he did so with a resilient effort. Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

Federal judge blocks New Jersey sports betting law

Report: Bucs sign Gerald McCoy to seven-year extension

Tim Tebow lectures Florida fans about booing

Report: Shonn Greene arrested after parking in handicap spot

Report: Joe Maddon wants a very hefty salary

Memorabilia dealer at center of Todd Gurley scandal fired


Colt McCoy on learning he was starting ‘it’s about f—ing time’

Four Questions for Game 3 of the World Series

Percy Harvin not planning on changing

Ricky Williams: People are let down when I turn down weed

Randall Cobb: Contract situation played role in slow start

Notre Dame WR faces discipline if he hooked up with porn star?

WATCH: 350-pound Arkansas lineman throws TD pass

Penn State fans blew air horns outside Ohio State's hotel?

WATCH: Oregon's Charles Nelson has impressive punt return TD

WATCH: Blue Jackets player takes skate across the face

WATCH: American flag rips during Game 3 national anthem

WATCH: Tony Parker draws foul by simply yelling 'hey'

Video: Tom Izzo takes the stage with KISS on Midnight Madness

Eight NFL records that won’t be broken for a long time

Big trouble for Bruins: Chara out 4-6 weeks, possibly more

Blazers, Seahawks owner Paul Allen gives $100M to fight ebola

'FIFA 15' glitch turns goalie into headless giant with no arms

WATCH: HBO releases trailer of 'The Offseason: Kevin Durant'

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Penn State fans blew air horn at Ohio State players' hotel?

Tim Tebow lectures Florida fans

Trouble for Bruins: Chara out 4-6 weeks

Joe Maddon opts out of contract with Rays

NBA Replay Center debuts next week

World Series win = Giants dynasty?

Reliving the worst college football game of the last 10 years

NFL teams facing must-win scenarios in Week 8

What the return of Luis Suarez means for Barcelona

Programs with a lot on the line this week

Wilson denies rumored Harvin rift

Lakers: Steve Nash out for season

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.