BOSTON -- Although Yankee Stadium had plenty to do with it, the ugly line put forth by John Lackey last weekend in New York was rather stunning, with the Boston Red Sox right-hander giving up four home runs for the first time in his career.
On Friday night at Fenway Park, the final line was very similar -- six runs and 10 hits in 5⅓ innings of an 8-4 loss to the Baltimore Orioles -- but the way it came together was very different. While the Yankees slugged Lackey into submission, the Orioles pecked away in a manner that had to be frustrating for the Red Sox.
"I thought he had good stuff tonight," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He managed their lineup with a couple of walks instead of giving in, but they had a number of ground balls that found some holes. They were able to bunch some hits together."
The tone was set on the first pitch. Baltimore right fielder Nick Markakis lined it toward the corner in left and was awarded a double when the ball apparently fell on the line. Farrell challenged the ruling -- and lost -- and Markakis eventually scored on a two-out infield hit by Adam Jones.
Lackey did not have his best stuff. Not even close. But that sequence on a 50-50 call that went against Boston and a dribbler that brought in a run epitomized a frustrating evening. Lackey did not make excuses but felt that the Markakis situation made it difficult to get started on the right foot.
"Yeah. Definitely not ideal," Lackey said of the nearly three-minute review just one pitch into the game. "Especially them not getting it right. It looks pretty foul to me."
Lackey, a model of consistency last season and solid through his first two starts in 2014, has given up at least six runs in consecutive outings for the first time since early in his fateful 2011 campaign. Two straight opponents have double-digit hit totals against him for the first time since he was with the Los Angeles Angels in 2009.
There were also four walks sprinkled into this one, but that, too, did not deviate too far from the game plan.
"They had a couple of walks but they were in spots that weren't that big a deal against guys I didn't really want to give in to. I felt OK with it," Lackey said.
Baltimore had two more infield hits and only one more that went for extra bases against Lackey.
"He was OK. They seemed like they got some hits. Balls found holes," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "Just one of those nights."
Lackey will get a chance to redeem himself next week against the Yankees at home.