Lackey goes eight strong innings in Sox' 4-1 win

Lackey goes eight strong innings in Sox' 4-1 win
July 2, 2013, 10:00 pm
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BOSTON - John Lackey turned in his fourth straight quality start and won his third straight decision, allowing just one run on six hits over eight innings as the Red Sox continued to beat up on National League opponents with a 4-1 victory over the  San Diego Padres.
     
Lackey pitched into the eighth for the first time this season, striking out six while walking just one, improving to 6-5 while lowering his ERA for the season to 2.81.
     
The outing was Lackey's 10th quality start -- six or more innings, three earned runs or fewer allowed -- of the season in 14 outings, trying him for the staff lead.
     
Boston improved to 5-2 in interleague play this season.
     
The Sox gave Lackey all the backing he would need in the fourth when Brandon Snyder, promoted from Pawtucket last week, smoked a double to straightaway center, clearing the bases for three runs.
     
Jose Iglesias (two hits) drove in the fourth run with a sharp single to center in the sixth, scoring Jonny Gomes who had led off with a double.
     
The only run allowed by Lackey came in the seventh when Jesus Guzman led off with a solo homer that barely reached the Monster Seats.
     
Koji Uehara, who blew his last save opportunity, converted his fourth chance in the last six games by retiring the side in order in the top of the ninth.

STAR OF THE GAME: John Lackey
Lackey continues to sparkle, imiting the Padres to a single run on six hits over eight innings while turning in his 10th quality start of the season, tying him for the staff high.

HONORABLE MENTION: Brandon Snyder
Snyder cleared the bases -- and nearly had himself a grand slam -- with a base-loaded double to straightaway center in the fourth inning, providing Lackey with all the support he would need. In three games, he has five RBI since joining the Sox.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Robbie Erlin
The rookie righthander only allowed three runs, but the Sox successfully ran up his pitch count up enough that he was 93 pitches after just 3 2/3 innings, forcing Bud Black to go to his bullpen in the fourth inning.

TURNING POINT: In the fifth inning, with Padres runners at the corners, the Sox got a force out at second while keeping Nick Hundley at third. Lackey then got the next two hitters on an infield pop-up and a lineout, getting out of the inning unscored upon.

BY THE NUMBERS: The Red Sox are now a season-high 17 games over .500, reaching that mark for the first time since the final day of the 2011 season.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "He's been a good pitcher for a long time. It's just a matter of being healthy, having a feel and having the velocity back." - Jarrod Saltalamacchia on John Lackey.