BOSTON — Veteran right-hander John Lackey and rookie outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. teamed up to give the Red Sox their first win at home.
Lackey provided the pitching, Bradley contributed hitting and fielding, and Boston stopped a three-game slide with a 5-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Monday night.
“I definitely want to pound the strike zone,” Lackey said. “I want people to know I’m going to throw strikes. If you’re going to get me you better get me quick because I’m coming after you.”
He did, throwing mostly fastballs with plenty of movement.
“They certainly weren’t straight,” Texas Manager Ron Washington said. “We had some opportunities against Lackey, but he showed why he’s one of the best pitchers in the American League.”
Bradley singled in Boston’s first two runs and made two outstanding catches in the first three innings. He battled the lights to grab Donnie Murphy’s liner in the second, then raced back to the warning track in right field for a one-handed grab against J.P. Arencibia in the third.
Which did he enjoy more, his hits or his catches?
“I’ll take both,” Bradley said. “Whatever helps the team.”
The Red Sox never lost more than three straight last year when they won the World Series. By winning Monday night, they avoided dropping their first four home games for the first time since 1984.
Lackey (2-0) allowed an unearned run and five hits in seven innings five days after giving up two runs over six innings in a 6-2 win at Baltimore. Chris Capuano pitched the eighth and Koji Uehara escaped a second-and-third jam in the ninth in a non-save situation.
Tanner Scheppers (0-1) allowed Bradley’s run-scoring hits in the second and fourth, and Boston added three runs in the eighth.
“For the most part I kept the ball on the ground,” said Scheppers, who lasted five innings.
“I’ve got to give the team more innings. I’ve got to go deeper in the ballgame. Forcing the manager’s hand in the fifth inning is not what a starting pitcher should do.”
Bradley, Mike Napoli and A.J. Pierzynski each had three singles for the Red Sox.
Boston took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI single by Bradley after singles by Xander Bogaerts and Pierzynski.
Texas tied it in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Mitch Moreland.
Bradley came through again in the fourth with another run-scoring single after Pierzynski singled and went to third on a single by Jonathan Herrera.
NOTES: The Red Sox signed free-agent infielder Ryan Roberts to a $1 million, one-year contract Monday and sent infielder Brock Holt to Triple-A Pawtucket.
The moves came one day after Boston placed third baseman Will Middlebrooks on the 15-day disabled list with a right calf strain and recalled Holt.
The Red Sox also transferred right-hander Steven Wright from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL.
The 33-year-old Roberts has played eight seasons with Toronto, Texas, Arizona and Tampa Bay. He has a career batting average of .245 with 46 homers in 510 games. He’s spent most of his time at third base, 217 games, and played 197 games at second.
Last year with Tampa Bay, Roberts hit .247 with five homers in 16 games .