ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- After a recent run of ghastly outings from his fellow starters, John Lackey gave the Red Sox a beauty Friday night. And it still wasn't good enough.
Lackey tossed seven innings of shutout ball, but was stuck with a no-decision when the Red Sox lost on a walkoff in the bottom of the ninth to the Tampa Bay Rays, 1-0.
"He was outstanding,'' gushed John Farrell. "John gave us everything that we could have asked for coming into tonight, but one run was the difference.''
"I felt pretty good,'' said Lackey. "Didn't give up any runs, but their guy [Rays starter Chris Archer, who struck out 11 in six innings] pitched good, too. Just one of those nights''
"He threw the ball great tonight,'' said catcher A.J. Pierzynski. "In big situations, he commanded his fastball, he commanded his off-speed stuff. He deserved a better fate. He deserved better than a no-decision. Once again, we had a ton of guys and we just couldn't find that hit to get the guy in.''
Having lost seven straight coming into Friday, Lackey was particularly determined to help stop the slide.
"I think as a starting pitcher, you take pride in trying to stop losing streaks, for sure,'' said Lackey. "You want to go out there and try to win a ballgame. We need one, for sure.''
Shane Victorino, who missed the first three weeks of the season after straining his right hamstring on the final weekend of spring training, re-injured the same hamstring in the ninth inning Friday night and was forced to come out of the game.
Victorino laid down a bunt to attempt to move baserunner A.J. Pierzynski to second. Evan Longoria charged the ball and cut down Pierzynski at second. Victorino reached first, but seconds later, beckoned the trainer and Farrell.
He left and was replaced with Jonny Gomes.
"First exam doesn't appear to be as severe as spring training,'' said Farrell. "But we'll get a full workup [Saturday] as soon as he gets to the park.''