John Lackey went into Monday’s start hoping to secure the Red Sox’ place in history as the only MLB team to win eight straight games immediately following a losing streak of 10 or more.
After a couple walks in the first led to two Cleveland runs, Lackey settled down the rest of the way, but just was not as good as his Indians counterpart Justin Masterson, who threw seven scoreless and allowed just three hits while striking out 10.
Lackey was able to stretch just 96 pitches, 63 for strikes, across eight full innings, allowing three runs on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
The Indians jumped out to a 2-0 lead with two outs in the first, as Lonnie Chisenhall blooped a single to left field that scored Michael Bourn and Michael Brantley.
Lackey came back to allow just one more run over the next 7.1 innings and gave the Red Sox a good chance to get back in the game. The only offense the team could muster came in the top of the eighth, when Brock Holt singled and Xander Bogaerts hit a two-run homer to right field to cut the deficit to one, but that was as close as they would get.
Masterson’s strong night included hurling an immaculate inning, coming in the fourth when he struck out Jonny Gomes, Grady Sizemore, and Stephen Drew on nine consecutive strikes.
Lackey hadn’t allowed any runs in his last two starts, throwing 13.1 scoreless innings on 13 hits and just one walk while striking out 12. His season ERA of 3.27 barely took any damage on Monday, raising just .01 to 3.28.
Lackey’s next schedule start is set for June 8, where the Red Sox take on the Tigers in Detroit. He will be looking to bounce back from the last time he faced the Tigers, allowing six runs on nine hits in 5.1 innings in a 6-1 Red Sox loss on May 17.