Saturday, April 12, 2014

Lackey yields career-high four homers to Yanks

NEW YORK -- John Lackey allowed a career-high four home runs and the stuttering Red Sox offense could not keep pace with the Yankees' long ball barrage in a 7-4 loss on Saturday afternoon.

Lackey entered his third start of 2014 looking to replicate the formula that helped him cruise to victory in his first two outings of the season -- namely, pounding the zone with mostly fastballs -- but the Yankees capitalized on his mistakes on an afternoon in which Yankee Stadium's short right-field wall appeared especially accommodating.

The heart of New York's lineup, stacked with high-priced acquisitions from the past calendar year, led the onslaught that eventually chased Lackey from the game after 5 2/3 innings, as Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Alfonso Soriano combined to go 6-for-9 with four home runs and six RBIs the first three times through the order.

Beltran opened the scoring in the first inning with a two-run blast into the right-field bleachers off an 0-2 fastball that Lackey left up in the strike zone. McCann sent Lackey's first pitch of the fourth inning into the second deck in right field for his first home run in pinstripes, and Soriano followed his catcher and roped a cutter on the outside corner to the opposite field and just over the wall for the Yankees' first back-to-back homers since June 6 of last season.

McCann struck again in the sixth inning with a two-run homer that soared into the Yankees' bullpen. After Yangervis Solarte poked a single through the left side to put two men on with two outs later in the frame, Lackey was pulled, unable to last at least six innings for just the second time since the 2013 All-Star break. Lackey has struggled in his four starts at Yankee Stadium as a member of the Red Sox, posting an 8.34 ERA.

The Red Sox moved a runner into scoring position in four of the first five innings, but A.J. Pierzynski's two-run home run in the second stood as the only damage inflicted by the visitors in the early going. They broke through for two more with a station-to-station rally in the seventh as Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda reached the end of his rope. Kuroda walked two of the first three batters, and reliever Matt Thornton grazed Mike Napoli's jersey with an inside fastball to load the bases for Mike Carp.

Carp poked a two-run single through the hole in the left side of the infield created by the defensive shift, but he was thrown out trying to steal second, stopping the seventh-inning rally short with Napoli standing on third.

Pierzynski continued his hot week, collecting the third multihit game in his last four starts. After Xander Bogaerts muscled a broken-bat single through the right side of the infield, Pierzynski struck on a sinker from Kuroda that missed its spot, sending his first home run in a Red Sox uniform two decks up in right.

Dustin Pedroia became Boston's fourth leadoff hitter this season as part of manager John Farrell's continued shuffling of the lineup and broke out of an 0-for-12 slump with a double to begin the fifth inning. However, the next three Red Sox hitters were set down in order, leaving Pedroia stranded on third base.

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