ARLINGTON, Texas -- John Lackey got saddled with the loss Saturday night, but that wasn't necessarily indicative of how he pitched.
Lackey tossed five innings and allowed three runs, but there were some extenuating circumstances to his pitching line.
After allowing a solo homer to Ian Kinsler on the first pitch of the game, Lackey retired eight of the next 10 hitters he faced.
But a costly throwing error by Will Middlebrooks helped the Rangers add two more runs.
"He gave us everything he had,'' said John Farrell of his starter. "They had one extended inning where they scored a couple of runs, but given the stuff he had, I thought it was consistent with what he had in his last outing against Houston. He was able to get 100 (98 actually) pitches, but against a little bit deeper lineup, they drove the pitch count up.
"But he kept us in there for his five innings of work.''
"The first couple of innings, I thought I was locating the ball pretty good,'' said Lackey. "You definitely don't want to lose but personally, there were some good things moving forward.''
This was Lackey's third start of the season, but just his second since he missed a few weeks following a biceps strain. His arm strength is still building.
"It's getting better,'' said Lackey. "Another positive coming out of this is that I got my pitch count up, so hopefully, my next start will be pretty much normal, back to just playing baseball. It's not all the way there, but (with) a few more starts, I like where it's heading.''
* The Red Sox came into the series with the most runs scored of any American League team, but through two games with the Texas Rangers, they've managed just one run in 18 innings.
Part of the problem has been the team's inability to get hits in big spots. In Friday's series opener, the Sox were 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position as they were shut out.
On Saturday, they had more chances, but weren't any more successful, going 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
"They have a very good pitching staff,'' said John Farrell. "(On Friday), after the long travel, I thought we were a little bit flat. Today, I thought we swung the bats much better. We had a number of hard-hit balls that didn't fall in and they made some good plays defensively in the outfield.
"We fully expected this to be a well-pitched series.''
The bottom third of the order didn't do much when it counted Saturday night, with No. 7 hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia making the final out in two at-bats while stranding three baserunners and No. 8 hitter Will Middlebrooks flying out to end the second with a runner at second, then flying out again in the fourth with another baserunner on second.
Dustin Pedroia also struggled, striking out in the third with two runners on, then grounding out with two runners in scoring position in the seventh.
* Mike Napoli didn't appear pleased when he was hit by a fastball with one out and the bases empty by Texas reliever Tanner Scheppers. Napoli gave a long stare out to Scheppers, then slammed his bat to the ground before taking his base.
But John Farrell didn't see intent with the pitch, and Scheppers insisted the ball simply got away from him.
"I think the fastball just got away,'' said Farrell. "After David (Ortiz) squares a ball up (to the warning track in the previous at-bat), Scheppers might have been a little bit careful, trying to run a ball in on (Napoli). But there wasn't any intent there.''
"I was just trying to throw a strike there,'' said Scheppers. "I like Nap a lot. I wouldn't try to hit him. I know he wasn't happy about it, but it was hard to grip the ball tonight.''