John Lackey’s won-loss record hardly shows how good he’s been for the Red Sox this season.
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The team’s most dependable starter, Lackey held down New York’s resurgent offense and helped Boston break a three-game skid by beating the Yankees 6-1 on Saturday.
"I think in this case the record doesn’t show how well he’s pitched and how consistent he’s been," manager John Farrell said. "In a couple of occasions he’s pitched on the wrong day and gone up against a starter that’s held us in check. To his credit, he’s earning everything that he’s getting right now due to the commitment he’s made in the offseason and how well he’s pitched."
Lackey (8-10), who missed last season while rehabbing from elbow surgery, has held opponents to three or fewer runs while pitching at least six innings in 14 starts, the most such outings on the club.
"You can’t do a whole lot about that," he said of his losing record. "You’ve just got to go out and keep the game close. The record’s kind of out of my hands."
Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits, David Ortiz homered and the Red Sox rebounded from a 10-3 loss with 14 hits.
"The biggest thing is our pitching and defense," shortstop Stephen Drew said. "If we have that, we have a chance to win every day."
But on Saturday, Lackey received some extra run support, too. Four times in his previous seven starts, Boston didn’t score while he was in the game.
"Lackey was outstanding today," said Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, booed loudly again during each at-bat. "Threw the ball very well. He’s having a big year for them. And Papi, he’s the heart and soul of that team. Obviously had another big day."
Ortiz, Shane Victorino, Will Middlebrooks, Mike Carp and Daniel Nava each had two hits for the AL East leaders, who won for only the third time in nine games.
Lackey relied mostly on his fastball, slider and changeup. He gave up one run and six hits while walking three over 6 2-3 innings to halt a four-game losing streak, the longest of his career. He was 0-4 with a 4.96 ERA in his previous five starts.
"He seemed to get the big out when he needed to," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We got some baserunners on him, but he seemed to get the big out when he needed to."
Alfonso Soriano extended his hitting tear with two singles in four at-bats for the Yankees, but was held without an RBI after matching a major league record with 18 over his previous four games. He is 15 for 22 (.682) in his last five games with five homers and nine runs scored.
The Yankees had scored 10 or more runs in three of their last four. New York lost for just the second time in seven games.
Hiroki Kuroda (11-8) matched a season high by giving up five runs — three earned — and 11 hits. He struck out six and did not walk a batter in 5 2-3 innings. The 38-year-old right-hander was 4-1 with a 0.94 ERA in his previous seven starts.
Leading 3-1 in the sixth, Boston added two runs and chased Kuroda. Jarrod Saltalamacchia had an RBI single and scored on Ellsbury’s double off the base of the right-field wall. Ortiz homered into the center-field seats off reliever Adam Warren in the seventh.
The Red Sox took advantage of an error and a missed call to jump ahead 3-0 in the fourth. With runners at the corners and one out, first baseman Lyle Overbay fielded Drew’s grounder and fired wide of second. Yankees shortstop Eduardo Nunez had to jump to catch the ball and threw late to first, with Ortiz scoring from third to make it 1-0.
Carp, who was safe at second, then stole third on the front end of double steal, though replays showed Rodriguez made the tag in time. Umpire Bill Welke, who ejected Carp for arguing a called third strike Friday night, pointed that he was safe. Middlebrooks and Ellsbury followed with consecutive RBI singles.
"With the runners on, I wanted to minimize the damage," Kuroda said through a translator. "But I couldn’t do that. … It was a bad outing."
Ichiro Suzuki’s run-scoring grounder cut it to 3-1 in the fifth. New York had runners on second and third with none out after a single by Overbay and a double by Chris Stewart, but Lackey retired the next three hitters on grounders.
NOTES: Kuroda allowed a season-high 11 hits. … Robinson Cano went 0 for 4, snapping his 11-game hitting streak. … Yankees SS Derek Jeter, on the 15-day DL with a strained right calf, continued taking batting practice and fielding grounders at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., but is not running the bases. … Boston 1B Mike Napoli was scratched from the original lineup because of a sore left foot. Farrell had planned to give Victorino the day off because he’s had a sore hamstring, but decided to play him with Napoli sidelined. The switch-hitting Victorino continued to hit right-handed against right-handed pitching due to the sore leg. … Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia turned 30. He fouled a ball off his left foot in the eighth and limped for a bit before finishing the at-bat. He was replaced on defense. Farrell said Pedroia was sore, but a scan at the ballpark came back "negative." … Boston sends RHP Ryan Dempster (6-8, 4.50 ERA) to the mound against LHP CC Sabathia (10-10, 4.66) in the series finale Sunday night.