When John Lackey saw manager John Farrell walk out of the dugout he was surprised. It was the seventh inning and he had thrown 82 pitches. He hadn't been taken out before his ninetieth pitch since mid-May.

Lackey prides himself on his ability to throw deep into games and if he was going to be pulled he thought he might have a chance to make his case to Farrell to remain in the game.

"That was the first trip" Lackey said of Farrell's visit to the mound. "It's not too late."

If there was an argument made it was to no avail. After allowing back-to-back singles in the inning to New York's eighth and ninth hitters Brendan Ryan and Chris Stewart Lackey was relieved by Craig Breslow.

Breslow eventually allowed both inherited runners to score on a double by Robinson Cano. The inning ended with the score tied 4-4 meaning Lackey would not factor into the decision. He pitched 6.1 innings allowed seven hits and four earned runs in Boston's 8-4 win over New York.

"John pitched outstanding" Farrell said. "To put him in a position where he's got two runners on base I thought he had done his job. I'm sure he's going to disagree with that which I respect but I felt like that was the move at the time."

Lackey had thrown at least 90 pitches in each of his 20 starts since May 19 when he pitched six innings in a win over the Twins. His 82 pitches on Friday were his third least in a start this season. He threw 77 and 81 pitches in his first two starts of the year respectively.

Though the playoffs are in sight Lackey found no silver lining in his abbreviated outing. He was not looking to save his arm for October.