BOSTON — It looked like business as usual for the Red Sox offense with John Lackey on the mound.
Through three innings, the Sox couldn't capitalize on any of their hits, but the bats awoken in the 4th, and Boston beat the Yankees, 6-1.
David Ortiz started off the fourth with a frozen rope to right field off Yanks starter Hiroki Kuroda that bounced into the stands. A Mike Carp single would put runners on the corners with no outs.
After a Daniel Nava strikeout, Stephen Drew grounded one to first base. It looked like it could have been a potential inning-ending double-play (although getting Drew would have been tough) - another inning the Sox wouldn't take advantage of - but Lyle Overbay's throw to second was off the mark. Ortiz scored, and both runners were safe.
Will Middlebrooks would later single in Carp, and Ellsbury followed that up with a single that scored Drew to make it 3-0 Sox.
That's all Lackey, who improved to 8-10 on the year, would need.
Though Lackey did give up a run the following inning, he was in command for most of the game. He finished with a line of 6.2 innings, one earned run, six hits, three walks, a hit batter, and a strikeout. Lackey recorded a staggering 15 of his 20 outs via ground ball.
As good as Lackey was on the mound, the defense behind him was outstanding. Dustin Pedroia made a number of diving plays to keep runners off the base paths - including one that got Alex Rodriguez at 1st base, to the delight of the fans. Carp also got the job done after being moved to 1st base shortly before the start of the game due to Mike Napoli needing the day off.
The Red Sox scored two more times in the 6th inning of Kuroda, as Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled in Nava, and Ellsbury doubled in Saltalamacchia.
That Ellsbury hit knocked Kuroda out of the game after 5.2 innings of 11-hit ball. Three of the five runs given up were earned, and he struck out six without walking a batter.
Ortiz crushed a solo shot to dead center field in the 7th inning. It was his 24th home run of the year.
Craig Breslow came in in relief of Lackey in the 7th, allowing Vernon Wells to reach on an infield single before getting Ichiro Suzuki to ground out. He got Robinson Cano to ground out to start the 8th before Junichi Tazawa came in and struck out Alfonzo Soriano and then got Rodriguez to fly out to right.
Koji Uehara came in for the ninth, giving up one hit and striking out Curtis Granderson and Eduardo Nunez.
STAR OF THE GAME: John Lackey
It may sound crazy, but John Lackey is the Red Sox' most dependable starter up to this point in the season. Lackey pitched his 15th quality start on Saturday, which leads the Red Sox. He lowered his ERA to 3.22 on the year, and has now given up 3 ER or less in 17 of his 22 starts this season, and 2 ER or less in 8 of his last 12 games since June 15. Despite the solid numbers, he earned his first win since July 12.
HONORABLE MENTION: Take Your Pick
Boston's offense chipped in from all over the lineup card on Saturday. Jacoby Ellsbury got on-base three times, and drove in a run on two separate occasions. David Ortiz scored twice and crushed a home run to center field. Daniel Nava hit two doubles off the Green Monster. Will Middlebrooks got on-base three times from the No. 9 spot, and drove in a run. It's the type of offensive performance we were used to seeing from the Red Sox earlier in the season.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Hideki Kuroda
Kuroda's line doesn't jump out at you as a "bad" one, but for Kuroda, who came into the game having lost just once of his last six starts, going 4-1 with a 0.94 ERA (48.0IP, 5ER), it wasn't the performance the Yanks were hoping for. Kuroda was fresh off an eight-inning, three-hit performance against the Angels, but the Sox got to him for 11 hits on Saturday.
TURNING POINT: With men on first and third with one out, there was a small chance the Yankees could have gotten out of the inning unscathed. But Lyle Overbay couldn't make a clean throw to second base on a Stephen Drew grounder - and everybody was safe. Had he gotten at least one out at second base, the Yankees could have gotten out of the inning giving up just one run. Instead, it was three.
BY THE NUMBERS: 23
John Lackey has gone at least 5.0 innings against the Yankees in 23 straight starts, tied with James Shields for longest active streak. He's tied for the 5th-longest streak since 1916 with Shields, Jamie Moyer, and Jack Quinn.