Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Lackey getting used to lack of run support

Boston bats fall silent when he takes the hill

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BOSTON -- John Lackey has hardly had any offensive support this season. It wasn't any different on Saturday.

Brett Gardner and Lyle Overbay each had three hits and drove in a run to back Hiroki Kuroda's seven strong innings, carrying the New York Yankees to a 5-2 win over the Boston Red Sox.

"I'm kind of used to it," Lackey said after lasting into the seventh inning. "A lot of mine have been like that this year. It's kind of been fun."

In 10 of his 17 starts this season, Boston's scored three or fewer runs when Lackey's been in the game. On Saturday, he left trailing 2-0.

"John pitched a very strong six-plus innings for us," Boston manager John Farrell said. "I think in that seventh things started to back up a little on him, totally understandable in those conditions."

The game was tight when Lackey left with a pair of runners on, trailing 2-0 in the seventh. New York then built its lead to 4-0 in the inning on consecutive RBI singles by Robinson Cano and Overbay against reliever Matt Thornton.

Lackey (7-7) was charged with four runs on 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings, striking out seven. It snapped a stretch of six consecutive starts when he's allowed two or fewer runs, and was just the third time in his 17th starts this season he's given up more than three.

"I feel pretty strong right now," he said. "The last month or two have been pretty solid."

He was certainly pleased with another good outing.

"I felt pretty good, not too different than the last few really," he said. "I had a couple of doubles and balls falling in that cost me a couple of runs. I thought I pitched pretty good."

Mike Carp had three hits and scored a run for the Red Sox. It was just Boston's second loss in its last 11 games in Fenway Park. David Ortiz also had two hits and scored a run.

The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the injury-riddled Yankees, who hope to be bolstered by the return of captain Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez soon.

In a matchup of veteran right-handers, Kuroda and Lackey both mostly relied on fastballs in the low 90s with hard sliders to go along with outstanding control. The pair combined for just one walk -- by Kuroda -- and threw a high percentage of strikes.

Kuroda (9-6) gave up two runs, five hits, striking out four with a pair of wild pitches -- one that led to a run.

All-star game MVP Mariano Rivera entered to a nice ovation and worked the ninth for his 31st save. Cano added two RBI.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 21, 2013 B6

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