Things got heated in the seventh inning of the Sox' 5-2 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday when John Lackey hit Francisco Cervelli leading off the inning. Lackey said he wasn't trying to hit Cervelli, who had homered in his previous at-bat and celebrated with a clap as he crossed home plate. "I thought it was a little excessive, honestly," Lackey said. "But that's not a spot to handle something like that."
Lackey said he was trying to back Cervelli off the plate and that the last thing he wanted to do was put the leadoff batter on base when his team was down two runs. "I was definitely not trying to hit him. I was trying to knock him down, for sure," Lackey said. "You can go look to see where he stands in the box. You've got to get him off the plate a little bit. I threw a 3-1 pitch that he hit out. I definitely wasn't trying to hit him, but I was definitely trying to move him back. You don't want to put a baserunner on in a two-run ballgame."
After he was hit, Cervelli had words with Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and both benches emptied. Yankee pitching coach Larry Rothschild was ejected before play resumed.
"Nobody likes to get hit," Lackey said. "I've been fined twice this year for hitting batters and I paid them because they were right. This one, I'm not afraid to tell you if I was trying to hit someone. I would have told him to his face."
As for the home run, which cleared the monster, Lackey said it was the one time he gave in against the Yankees. "That's a 3-1 pitch to a nine-hole hitter. I didn't want to walk him," he said. "It was probably the only time I gave in all night and it didn't work out."
Whether it was intentional or not, Cervelli's reaction did catch the pitcher's attention. "He was pumped for that [third] home run of his career, yeah," Lackey said.
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