FORT MYERS, Fla. – John Lackey is keying in on that first regular-season start.

Lackey pitched into the sixth inning Thursday, leading the Red Sox to an 8-5 victory over the Mets.

The right-hander gave up a run and five hits in 51/3 innings. He walked one, hit a batter and struck out two. It was the first walk and hit batter Lackey has allowed in 152/3 innings this spring.

“I thought today he dialed it up a notch,” Red Sox Manager Terry Francona said. “You can see it’s getting closer to the start and he’s starting to smell it.”

Lackey threw 78 pitches, 46 for strikes.

Earlier in the day, manager Terry Francona revealed Boston’s pitching rotation. Lackey comes after Jon Lester, followed by Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon had another difficult appearance. He faced seven batters, recording just two outs, as he gave up four runs on two hits, two walks, and a hit batter.

“I still feel very locked in,” Papelbon said. “I’m just a tick off in my mechanics. I’m not searching. I know exactly where I am. I can feel it in my delivery. For me it’s not a big deal at all. A minor detail for me.”

The Red Sox optioned Jose Iglesias, Yamaico Navarro, Luis Exposito, Lars Anderson, and Juan Carlos Linares to Triple-A Pawtucket.