Coming off a six inning, one-hit performance against the Twins on Sunday, Lackey followed with a seven inning, one run (unearned),two hit, eight strikeout performance in which it seemed he got stronger as the game went on throwing 109 pitches. He struck out five of the final ten hitters he faced, and retired 13 of the final 14.
"Well the one thing he has maintained is his stuff overall," said manager John Farrell. "Considering the surgery he is coming off of, it is a testament to the work in between starts. As far as execution, it's been a high number of first pitch strikes and he's been ahead of the count not only in the last two starts, but the whole year. Because of that he's been able to go to secondary pitches to finish some hitters off."
Koji Uehara pitched a scoreless eighth, before Alfredo Aceves pitched the ninth in his return to Fenway Park after being recalled earlier in the day.
Mike Carp, starting in left field, hit a three-run homer over the Red Sox bullpen to give the Sox a 3-0 lead at the time in the third inning. The Sox added another run in the sixth and then four more in the seventh on two-RBI single's from Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia led the offense with two hits.
Weather permitting, the teams will play tomorrow afternoon (1:35, NESN) where Jon Lester will get the ball for the Sox, and the Indians will counter with Scott Kazmir.
What they'll be saying: Lackey has emerged as the No. 3 starter in the Red Sox rotation serving as a nice complement to Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. After tonight's performance his ERA is now 2.72. It was a case where he really did get stronger as the game went along, recording 14 swings and misses. His cutter was working, throwing it 32 times, 21 for strikes and getting six swings and misses. In his last two starts combined he's thrown 13 innings, allowed one run on just three hits ... The Red Sox offense clicked again tonight, mostly in the late innings when they knocked Indians starter Justin Masterson from the game. They are at their best when they can string together hits, which they did in the seventh inning sending nine batters to the plate and recording four hits.