With home-field advantage in the AL still up for grabs, the Boston Red Sox won't take it easy during the final week of the regular season.
Headed to the postseason for first time in four years as East champions, Boston (95-62) hopes to hold off Oakland and Detroit in the race for the league's best record.
"We're going out to win games and be aggressive," said Felix Doubront , the winning pitcher in Sunday's 5-2 victory over Toronto. "We'll try to go hard every game."
Lackey (10-12, 3.44 ERA) likely won't let up after striking out eight during his two-hit gem in Thursday's 3-1 victory over Baltimore. The right-hander did not give up a hit until Adam Jones ' homer in the seventh inning, then yielded a single to J.J. Hardy in the eighth to bounce back after he allowed 11 runs and 15 hits in 12 innings of his previous two starts.
"I felt pretty good," Lackey told the Red Sox's official website. "My arm felt good. It was fun."
In preparation for the playoffs, Boston originally intended to pitch Lackey out of the bullpen during this two-game set at Coors Field. However, they decided to push Jake Peavy to Wednesday and start Lackey on Tuesday and in Sunday's regular-season finale at Baltimore.
"We still want to play a good brand of baseball," manager John Farrell said. "We don't see the clinching of the division as a breather. It's a matter of continuing on and playing a very sound brand of baseball."
Lackey fanned a season-high 12 and gave up two runs over seven innings in a 5-3 home victory over Colorado on June 26, but pitching at Coors Field for the first time since 2010 might not be as easy. He's 1-4 with a 5.45 ERA in five road starts since the All-Star break.
The Rockies (71-86) have little to play for this week, but Michael Cuddyer still has the NL batting title in his sights. After missing the previous three games with a sore left wrist and forearm, Cuddyer raised his average to .334 with three hits in Sunday's 13-9 loss to Arizona.
He went 4 for 9 with two homers as Colorado was swept in two games by the Red Sox in June. With a solo shot off Lackey in that series, four of Cuddyer's seven hits in 22 at-bats against him have been home runs.
Pedroia is 2 for 2 with a walk against the Rockies' Tyler Chatwood (7-5, 3.36), who gave up four runs over six innings in Wednesday's 4-3 loss to St. Louis. The right-hander has a 4.34 ERA in four September starts since returning from a month on the DL due to right elbow inflammation.
Chatwood gave up two runs and walked five in six innings in his only start against Boston, a 2011 outing with the Los Angeles Angels .
This will be the second-to-last home game for Colorado's Todd Helton , who will retire after 17 seasons. He had three hits and four RBIs on Sunday and is 12 for 30 in eight home games - including a pair in the 2007 World Series - versus Boston.
"It's good knowing that I can go out and be productive and help the team every once in awhile," Helton told the Rockies' official website.
|Boston Red Sox|
|September 01, 2013||Shane Victorino||Day-to-Day||Left hip contusion|
|August 29, 2013||Mike Carp||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder irritation|
|August 17, 2013||Mike Napoli||Day-to-Day||Sore left foot|
|August 08, 2013||Brandon Snyder||15-Day DL||Ulnar neuritis, right elbow|
|August 08, 2013||Brandon Snyder||15-Day DL||Ulnar neuritis, right elbow|
|August 05, 2013||Matt Thornton||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|September 17, 2013||Wilin Rosario||Day-to-Day||Left game - right calf soreness|
|September 16, 2013||Nolan Arenado||Day-to-Day||Left game - undisclosed injury|
|September 04, 2013||Nolan Arenado||Day-to-Day||Right thumb contusion|
|August 26, 2013||Dexter Fowler||Day-to-Day||Bruised left knee|
|August 25, 2013||Troy Tulowitzki||Day-to-Day||Sore ribs|
|August 23, 2013||Rafael Betancourt||15-Day DL||Right elbow sprain|
DENVER (AP) -- John Lackey was originally going to throw an inning simply to stay sharp.
That plan was changed to a full-fledged start, to keep in rhythm.
Only, this wasn't exactly the outing he was looking for with the postseason drawing near.
Lackey allowed three solo homers, including one to Charlie Blackmon , the first batter he faced, as the Boston Red Sox fell to the Colorado Rockies 8-3 on Tuesday night.
"Not our best night from the mound," manager John Farrell said. "I thought John made a couple of mistakes that he had to pay for, particularly in a ball park where you put the ball in the air and it's going to carry."
Even more, Lackey (10-13) struggled on the road again, allowing four runs and six hits in six innings. The right-hander is 1-5 away from Fenway Park since the All-Star break.
Lackey also surrendered solo homers to Troy Tulowitzki and Corey Dickerson .
Not that he's too concerned with this performance.
"I'm good to go," Lackey said. "Feel good."
Tyler Chatwood (8-5) shut down a potent Red Sox lineup as he gave up one unearned run and three hits before being pulled for a pinch hitter with a 4-1 lead in the seventh.
The Rockies went on to score four times that inning to seal the win, with DJ LeMahieu and Michael Cuddyer delivering two-run singles.
Cuddyer finished the night 2 for 4 with a double to raise his average to an NL-best .335.
For the Rockies, this was a confidence-inducing victory.
"For sure. Boston is a great team, going into the playoffs," Dickerson said. "You want to play well, show our resilience as a team and to play hard to the last game."
With the AL East title wrapped up, the Red Sox are now focused on securing the best record in the league. They maintain a one-game lead over Oakland after the Athletics lost 3-0 to the Los Angeles Angels .
Farrell is using these last few games as a way figure out his final postseason roster spots. Farrell said there are a couple still up for grabs.
David Ortiz played first base instead of Mike Napoli without the use of a designated hitter. Ortiz showed off his glove, too, snaring a scorching liner from Dickerson to end the sixth.
Chatwood pitched carefully to the dangerous Ortiz, even intentionally walking him in first with a runner on second. The ploy worked as Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounded out.
Later, Ortiz hit a fly to the deepest part of the park, but Blackmon tracked it down.
The only mistake Chatwood made wasn't on the mound but covering first base in the seventh. With two outs and Will Middlebrooks on second, Todd Helton made a diving stop on Jackie Bradley Jr.'s grounder and quickly flipped it to Chatwood, who dropped the ball before stepping on the base.
Chatwood scooped it up and threw wide to home plate and into the Red Sox dugout, allowing Middlebrooks to score. Chatwood was charged with two errors on the play and Bradley advanced to third.
But Chatwood escaped more damage when his wild pitch bounced off the wall behind home plate, allowing catcher Jordan Pacheco to quickly field the ball and flick it to Chatwood, who tagged out Bradley, keeping the score 4-1.
"That lineup is really tough," Chatwood said. "You've got to execute every pitch."
Blackmon, the reigning NL player of the week, began the game with a homer to right on a fastball from Lackey. Cuddyer soon followed with a double and scored on Helton's single.
Helton clapped his hands after his hit as the crowd roared. The first baseman will retire at the end of the season after 17 years with the Rockies.
Before the game, Helton said he didn't "do nostalgia" and didn't want to reflect back on his career just yet. He holds virtually every hitting category in Rockies history and will play his final home game Wednesday night.
Helton nearly was a member of the Red Sox had a rumored trade before the 2007 season taken place. That was the season the Red Sox went on to sweep the Rockies to capture the World Series title.
Asked how close he was to being in a Boston uniform, Helton said: "I have no idea. You have to talk to the people that were making the decisions."
NOTES: Saltalamacchia hit a two-run homer in the ninth after Ortiz singled. ... Red Sox OF Jacoby Ellsbury (right foot) may return to the lineup as soon as Wednesday. ... Rockies owner Dick Monfort is pleased with the performance of first-year manager Walt Weiss and hopes he returns. Monfort said the sides have yet to talk about a new deal.