BOSTON – With each outing, John Lackey appears to be improving from the Tommy John surgery that wiped out his 2012 season, gaining in strength, and showing more resemblance to the pitcher the Red Sox thought they were getting when they signed him for five years and $82.5 million before the 2012 season.
On a cold and wet Friday night at Fenway Park, Lackey nearly shut down the Indians offense, as the Red Sox won, 8-1. He earned the win, improving to 3-4 as his ERA fell from 3.31 to 2.72.
In six innings he allowed just one unearned run on two hits and three walks with eight strikeouts. In his last two outings, Lackey has gone a combined 13 innings, giving up two unearned runs, on three hits, and three walks, with 13 strikeouts.
The lone run he allowed Friday night came in the third innings, when Mark Reynolds led off with a single to left and Michael Brantley reached on an infield single. With two outs, Reynolds and Brantley each advanced on a stolen base, with Reynolds scoring on catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s error, attempting to throw Reynolds out at third.
That was all the Indians would get off the Sox right-hander.
But the Sox offense got to a trio of former Sox pitchers for eight runs. Justin Masterson started for the Indians, giving up a three-run homer to Mike Carp in the second, scoring David Ortiz, who walked to open the inning, and Mike Napoli, who singled.
They added a run in the sixth when Daniel Nava was hit by a pitch with one out. Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz reached on consecutive singles. Napoli grounded into a force out at second, but was safe at first with Nava scoring. But, Pedroia was thrown out attempting to score.
The Sox sent nine batters to the plate in the seventh, with four scoring, against Masterson, Rich Hill, and Matt Albers.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off with a single against Masterson, ending the right-hander’s night with Hill entering. After hitting Jonny Gomes, pinch-hitting for Carp, with a pitch, Hill struck out Stephen Drew then gave up a single to Jose Iglesias. Jacoby Ellsbury’s single to right scored Gomes and Iglesias. After Nava fouled out, Ellsbury stole second (his 14th stolen base of the season) before Pedroia’s single to right scored Iglesias and Ellsbury, putting the Sox up 8-1.
Koji Uehara and Alfredo Aceves each pitched a scoreless inning, after giving up lead-off hits.
Masterson took the loss, as his record fell to 7-3, as his ERA climbed from 2.83 to 3.20.
AT A GLANCE
STAR OF THE GAME: John Lackey
Lackey went seven innings, giving up just one unearned run on two hits and three walks with eight strikeouts. He earned the win, improving to 3-4 as his ERA fell from 3.31 to 2.72.
HONORABLE MENTION: Mike Carp
Carp’s three-run homer off Justin Masterson in the second inning gave the Red Sox a 3-0 lead. Carp entered the game 3-for-7 with two doubles, a triple, and one RBI against Masterson.
THE GOAT: Justin Masterson
Masterson went six innings (plus one batter in the seventh), giving up five runs on six hits and a walk with five strikeouts, a home run, and a hit batter. His record fell to 7-3, as his ERA climbed from 2.83 to 3.20.
THE TURNING POINT
Masterson allowed the first two batters of the second inning to reach base – walking David Ortiz and giving up a single to Mike Napoli – before getting Jarrod Saltalamacchia to fly out. Mike Carp then sent a 1-and-1 slider from the former Sox right-hander and sent it into the seats behind the Sox bullpen, giving the Sox a three-run lead.
BY THE NUMBERS
Lackey allowed just one unearned run, matching a season-high seven innings pitched. It was his longest career outing without allowing an earned run at Fenway Park. He has allowed one or fewer earned runs in all three home starts this season, posting an ERA of 0.90, with two combined earned runs in 20 innings.
With his last outing May 19 at Minnesota, this marks the first time since July 2 – 14, 2006, that he has pitched back-to-back outings without allowing an earned run.
QUOTE OF NOTE
“I will be nervous [but] you need to have that playing in this game, a little bit emotional. That's going to push you to be better.” – Jose Iglesias, before his first major league game playing third base.