BOSTON – John Lackey allowed two hits in seven innings, Mike Carp hit a three-run homer and the Boston Red Sox beat the Cleveland Indians 8-1 on a rainy Friday night.
It was the second straight strong performance by Lackey, who missed all last season following Tommy John elbow surgery. Last Sunday he gave up one hit and one unearned run in six innings of a 5-1 win at Minnesota. He left that game after a three-hour rain delay.
After a 44-minute delay before Friday’s game, Lackey (3-4) struck out eight, walked three and gave up an unearned run while pitching through a steady rain. He allowed only two of the 25 batters he faced to hit the ball out of the infield.
Lackey finished his night by striking out Jason Giambi and Mark Reynolds to end the seventh. As he walked toward the dugout, fans chanted, “Lackey! Lackey!”
The Indians fell out of first place in the AL Central and a half-game behind the Detroit Tigers, who beat the Minnesota Twins, 6-0. The Red Sox remained one game behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees, who beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-4.
Carp broke an 0-for-21 slump in the second inning with his third homer of the year. That also ended a 20-inning scoreless streak for Justin Masterson (7-3). The homer followed a walk to David Ortiz and a single by Mike Napoli.
Former Red Sox Manager Terry Francona received an ovation when he walked back to the dugout after making two pitching changes in the seventh, when Boston scored four runs. Francona returned to Fenway Park as an opposing manager Thursday night for the first time since he was let go by the Red Sox after the 2011 season. The Indians won that game, 12-3.
After Carp’s homer, the Indians made it 3-1 in the third with the help of a wild throw by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Singles by Reynolds and Michael Brantley put runners at first and second before Lackey retired the next two batters.
On a double-steal attempt, Saltalamacchia threw the ball into left field, allowing Reynolds to score and Brantley to reach third.
Jason Kipnis then walked and stole second, but the threat ended when Asdrubal Cabrera grounded out.
The Red Sox made it 4-1 in the sixth when they loaded the bases with one out. Daniel Nava was hit by a pitch, and Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz singled. Napoli then grounded to shortstop Cabrera, who threw to second baseman Kipnis for a forceout. Kipnis’ throw to first pulled Nick Swisher off the bag as Napoli reached safely and Nava scored.
Pedroia also tried to score, but Swisher threw him out.
Boston took an 8-1 lead in the seventh on two-run singles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Pedroia.
NOTES: Giambi is hitless in his last 26 at bats after going 0-for-4. Cleveland activated Swisher off the paternity list and optioned infielder Cord Phelps to Triple-A Columbus. … The Red Sox recalled right-hander Alfredo Aceves and infielder Jose Iglesias from Triple-A Pawtucket and placed outfielder Shane Victorino and third baseman Will Middlebrooks on the 15-day disabled list. They also activated catcher David Ross off the seven-day concussion disabled list and sent catcher Ryan Lavarnway to Pawtucket.