BOSTON - At nearly the halfway point in the 2013 season, it would seem that John Lackey has emerged -- for now, at least -- as the Red Sox' most reliable starter.
With Clay Buchholz sidelined indefinitely and Jon Lester having won just once in his past seven starts, the Sox need someone to step forward and Lackey has responded.
On Wednesday, he gave the Red Sox seven strong innings, allowing just two runs on eight hits while tying a career-high in strikeouts with 12. He didn't walk a single batter as the Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies 5-3 at Fenway Park.
Lackey's record sits at just 5-5, but that's a function of some tough luck. His ERA is a 2.98, lowest of any Boston starter other than Buchholz.
The Sox provided Lackey with some quick support in the first when Shane Victorino (single), David Ortiz (double) and Daniel Nava (single) offered run-scoring hits.
In the third inning, Mike Napoli blooped an RBI single into right and Nava delivered a sacrifice fly.
Lackey was touched for a run in the first and another in the sixth when Michael Cuddyer homered into the Monster Seats. A second Cuddyer homer -- in almost the same location, off Junichi Tazawa -- closed out the scoring for the Rockies.
Meanwhile, five days after he was named as the team's new starter, Koji Uehara took care of the ninth, notching his second save of the season.
The Sox have won six of their past seven games at Fenway Park and 12 of their past 15.
STAR OF THE GAME: John Lackey
Lackey turned in his best start of the season -- and one of the best of his Red Sox's career -- with seven innings of two-run ball. Lackey also became the first Red Sox starter in 10 years to strike out 12 hitters and not issue a single walk.
HONORABLE MENTION: Shane Victorino
Showing no ill affects from another run-in with an outfield wall, Victorino led the Sox with three hits. He also scored two and knocked in another.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Roy Oswalt
Oswalt pitched better after the first inning, but he allowed three runs in the first and two more in the third to hand the Red Sox a 5-1 lead.
TURNING POINT: In the sixth inning, after the first homer by Michael Cuddyer, a double by Wilin Rosario anbd a one-out single by Nolan Arenado, the Rockies had the potential tying run at the plate with just one out. But Lackey fanned Tyler Colvin and got Yorvit Torrealba to fly out to
end the threat.
BY THE NUMBERS: Jose Iglesias was 0-for-4 and saw his streak of reaching base in 27 consecutive games come to an end. It had been the longest for a Red Sox rookie since Trot Nixon in 1999.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "The Tommy John surgery, the rehab, the reshaping of the body -- it's almost like we're looking at a different guy.'' -Red Sox manager John Farrell on John Lackey.