Lackey denied 16th win in loss to Sox
Angels ace allows six runs in first, lasts just four innings
BOSTON -- New England apparently isn't John Lackey's cup of chowder.The Red Sox needed only five first-inning hitters against Lackey on Friday to acquire a cycle, and they rode it to an 8-4 triumph behind young Clay Buchholz in the early installment of a day-night doubleheader against the Angels at Fenway Park. Dustin Pedroia's leadoff double, David Ortiz's 20th homer, Manny Ramirez's single and J.D. Drew's triple were interrupted only by a Kevin Youkilis strikeout before Ortiz's blast. The Red Sox kept on motoring. Before the inning had ended, Mike Lowell had singled and Doug Mirabelli and Alex Cora had doubled, each driving in a run on the way to a six-run inning and five-run lead. "I didn't make enough good pitches," Lackey said, having been tagged for 15 total bases with seven first-inning hits. "A lot of those balls just found the right spots. One found the seats." Lackey is 1-4 in seven career Fenway outings, his ERA 7.46 in 35 innings. Overall, he' 1-6 in 11 starts against the Red Sox with a 6.27 ERA. Buchholz, tall, loose and easy in the manner of Jered Weaver, took an instant liking to the surroundings in an impressive Major League debut. He went six innings and yielded four runs, three earned. The Angels, however, were not without opportunities to put their share of crooked numbers on the board. A career-high four hits came from Casey Kotchman and the top four in the order combined for seven hits and two walks. But the Angels were 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position, not finding the timely blows needed to get back in the game. "I thought we had a better showing [offensively] than four runs," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We hit probably three or four balls on the button with nothing to show for it. We could have scored some runs there." The Red Sox turned double plays in the second, third and fifth innings, welcoming Buchholz to the big leagues with a first-class leather display. Bidding to become the Majors' first 16-game winner, Lackey endured a 46-pitch first-inning nightmare. He yielded an unearned run in the fourth on two hits and a throwing error by Vladimir Guerrero, departing with his shortest stint (four innings) of the season, having surrendered 11 hits. Turning points can come anytime -- even three hitters into a game. Lackey had Ortiz down 0-2 in the count when Big Papi took a ball, fouled off a strike, looked at a fastball inside and then launched a curveball, down and in, into the seats in right field. "We had a couple of chances to get Ortiz and couldn't do it," Scioscia said. "That's part of why David's so dangerous. It wasn't that bad of a pitch, but it wasn't exactly where you need to put the ball. "The margin of error is fine. John couldn't get his feet on the ground... and they jumped on him. John's a premier pitcher in this league. He had a bad start today." Lackey said he felt good and was throwing well, but the ballpark's "strange angles" and "different setup than you're going to see anywhere else" came into play. "The home run was really the only pitch" he'd want back, Lackey said. Originally scheduled for April 15 but postponed by a severe storm, the game left the Angels 0-4 this year at Fenway. First time in, they were outscored by a combined 25-3 in a three-game sweep. Lackey, who loves a good showdown, appeared disappointed he wasn't able to face Boston ace Josh Beckett in the nightcap. "You'd think they'd want me to go against a guy like that," Lackey said, having been informed of the decision to go with Ervin Santana in the second game while the club was in Toronto. "It would have been fun, yeah. I don't know too many pitchers who'd rather pitch in the day than night." The Angels scored first, thanks largely to Drew's error on Guerrero's opposite-field drive following Chone Figgins' leadoff walk. But it was 7-1, Boston, when they reawakened with two runs in the fifth on consecutive singles by Figgins, Orlando Cabrera, Guerrero and Anderson before Gary Matthews Jr. lashed a line drive that Youkilis turned into a double play at first. Kotchman doubled in the sixth, scoring on Jeff Mathis' sacrifice fly. Taking over for Lackey in the fifth, Chris Bootcheck continued his splendid work, restoring order with three scoreless innings before Pedroia unloaded a solo homer in the eighth against Greg Jones. Boston manager Terry Francona summoned his relief hammers to finish the job for the new kid in town, and Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon were up to the task. Kotchman's fourth hit, following Anderson's second single in the eighth, had the Angels threatening, but Papelbon came on to retire pinch-hitter Maicer Izturis on a fly ball to quell the rally. Guerrero accounted for the final out after a Cabrera single with a 400-foot out to deep right-center against Papelbon. Boston has taken 16 of 22 decisions from the Angels in Fenway since the start of the 2003 season and owns a 26-12 advantage since 1999.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.