NEW YORK — With every pitch John Lackey threw Saturday, that short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium seemed to move closer and closer.
Lackey was tagged for a career-high four home runs, with Brian McCann connecting twice to lead the New York Yankees over the Boston Red Sox, 7-4.
“The mistakes he made were up and unfortunately in this park, you pay for those mistakes, especially to right field. All of them were hit for homers and that’s the way it goes here,” Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.
McCann put an emphatic end to his season-opening slump, hitting his first home runs for his new team. Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano and Kelly Johnson also teed off as the Yankees scored all their runs on homers.
“Warmer weather. The ball was really carrying here today. But still, it was mistakes up in the strike zone,” Boston Manager John Farrell said.
Lackey was pulled after 52/3 innings. His problems started right away.
Jacoby Ellsbury bunted for a two-out single in the first and Beltran homered on an 0-2 pitch right down the middle. Lackey was already stalking toward the plate to get a new ball from the umpire before Beltran reached second base.
“I just left it over the plate. It wasn’t a very good pitch, up in the zone. One of those I’d like to have back, for sure,” Lackey said.
It was a quick deficit for the World Series champions, who haven’t scored in the first inning in any of their 12 games this season. Farrell moved Dustin Pedroia from the second slot into the leadoff position – Pedroia went 1 for 5 and is hitting .236 without a home run or walk.
“We’re doing what we can. Trying different things as far as the lineup goes, trying different combinations to get a little bit of a jump start. It’s required our starters to come out of the bullpen ready to roll from the first inning on,” Farrell said.
Lackey (2-1) threw plenty of strikes but gave up 10 hits. He walked none, struck out six and missed a chance to get off to a 3-0 start for the first time in his career.
New York has won 2 of 3 in a series that wraps up Sunday night.
Pierzynski hit his first home run for the Red Sox.
After striking out in the first inning and dropping his batting average to .158, McCann led off the fourth with a liner into the first row of the second deck in right field, far beyond the 314-foot mark.
The fans were still cheering when Soriano followed with his third home run of the week.
Beltran opened the sixth with a double and McCann homered to right-center. It was the catcher’s 10th career multihomer game.
“The last one was a bad pitch, to McCann. Slider, didn’t do anything,” Lackey said of the homers. “The two in between were kind of, you know, playing here.”
Hiroki Kuroda (2-1) pitched into the seventh and reliever Matt Thornton gave up Mike Carp’s two-run single that made it 6-4. With runners at the corners, Carp was caught stealing for the third out with Xander Bogaerts batting.
“On the 0-2 count, we gambled a bit to get 90 feet. I know we’re down two with Xander at the plate, down an 0-2 count, thinking it might be a breaking ball, so we sent him just to try to create something, be a little bit more aggressive. It didn’t work out,” Farrell said.
NOTES: David Ortiz has reached safely in 25 straight games against the Yankees, the longest active streak vs. New York. He got one hit and is 11 for 20 lifetime facing Kuroda. … Red Sox center fielder Grady Sizemore didn’t start, a day after his big three-run homer beat the Yankees. Farrell doesn’t want to overuse him. … Farrell asked for a replay review after Dean Anna’s double in the eighth. A television shot seemed to show Anna’s foot off second base as he stood up while Bogaerts was tagging him, but the safe call stood. “We probably had five angles that confirmed his foot was off the base,” Farrell said. “It certainly raises questions on if they are getting the same feed we are, the consistency of the system.”