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Montero a calming presence on both sides

Catcher helps to settle frustrated Lackey, hits homer off knuckleballer
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

BOSTON -- Before Saturday's game, Cubs manager Joe Maddon was talking about how important it was for players to avoid getting angry. Getting frustrated is understandable, but Maddon didn't want to see them mad.

Then there's John Lackey.

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BOSTON -- Before Saturday's game, Cubs manager Joe Maddon was talking about how important it was for players to avoid getting angry. Getting frustrated is understandable, but Maddon didn't want to see them mad.

Then there's John Lackey.

View Full Game Coverage

"You've probably got me there," Maddon said when reminded of his comments after Saturday's 7-4 win over the Red Sox. "Johnny definitely orbits in a different manner. He's always been that guy. I've known him since 2001, and back in the day, I was a bench coach and I was able to go out and have a beer with him and settle him down."

Catcher Miguel Montero had that responsibility in Saturday's game, which marked Lackey's return to Fenway Park. The former Red Sox pitcher picked up the win, but not without an argument. In the first inning, he was not happy with some of the calls by home-plate umpire Bill Welke and told him so as he walked off the field.

"Did you call that in?" Lackey asked Welke about a pitch to Mookie Betts.

Welke confirmed he did.

"Then you missed it," Lackey said.

Montero could tell the right-hander wasn't happy.

"I just told the umpire, 'I'll take care of it,'" Montero said. "The last thing I wanted to do was get a little retaliation there. I told [Lackey], 'Just keep throwing it there, because he's going to call it eventually. They're strikes, and he'll start calling it,' and he did."

Lackey lasted six innings, and he has gone that far in each of his first five starts this year, the second time in his career he's done so (also 2008 with the Angels).

This wasn't an emotional return to Boston for Lackey. He's changed teams more than Jon Lester, for example, who grew up in the Red Sox's organization. What was new on Saturday was Boston knuckleballer Steve Wright, who baffled the Cubs' hitters.

"The ball goes in to you or away from you or down or stays up," Montero said. "I told the umpire, 'I'm going to close my eyes and swing hard in case I hit it.'"

Video: CHC@BOS: Montero launches a game-tying solo home run

Did Montero close his eyes when he homered in the Cubs' seventh, tying the game at 4?

"No," he said.

"Montero is a good fastball hitter," Boston manager John Farrell said. "Knuckleball stays up, and it floats out of here with the wind blowing out to right. He got it good, but that ties it up."

Anthony Rizzo also homered off Wright with a two-run shot in the fourth.

"I said, 'Tip my hat to everyone who hit [Wright] today,'" Kyle Schwarber said. "It's some funky stuff."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Chicago Cubs, John Lackey, Miguel Montero