Boston Sweeps Astros Behind a Solid Lackey
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey, right, is congratulated by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia after the last out in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros at Fenway Park in Boston, Sunday, April 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
Houston Astros shortstop Marwin Gonzalez (9) makes the tag as Boston Red Sox's Jacoby Ellsbury (2) is caught stealing second base during the second inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Sunday, April 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
Boston — John Lackey returned from the disabled list and pitched six solid innings, David Ortiz drove in two more runs and the Boston Red Sox matched a team record with its 18th win in April by beating the Houston Astros 6-1 yesterday for a four-game sweep.
Lackey (1-1) missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery and went on the DL after leaving his first start this year with a strained right biceps. He allowed five hits, struck out four and walked two. The two walks came with two outs in the first and cost Lackey his only run.
Stephen Drew hit a two-run triple and Ortiz had two hits, extending his hitting streak to 20 games dating back to last Season. Ortiz has 11 RBIs and is batting .516 in eight games since returning to the lineup last weekend.
Bud Norris (3-3) struck out six for Houston and held the Red Sox to three earned runs.
A double error by shortstop Marwin Gonzalez led to two unearned runs in the fourth that put Boston up 4-1, an insurmountable margin for the Astros as they failed to deliver runs once again.
Houston left nine runners on base and was 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Sunday. The Astros were just 5-for-38 in the series. They had a runner on third with two outs in the ninth but Daniel Nava ended the game with a diving catch in right field.
Ronny Cedeno drove in Houston’s only run with a single in the first after Lackey had walked Jason Castro and Carlos Pena with two outs.
The Astros loaded the bases with one out in the sixth on consecutive singles by Castro, Pena and Cedeno, but Lackey got himself out of the jam by striking out Fernando Martinez and getting Matt Dominguez to ground into a fielder’s choice.
The Red Sox also left the bases loaded in the first after Ortiz’s RBI single scored Nava, who doubled with one out.
The missed opportunity didn’t hurt Boston as the Red Sox scored twice in both the fourth and fifth innings.
Mike Napoli led off the fourth with a blooper down the right field line and tried to stretch into a double, but former pitcher Rick Ankiel’s throw reached second well before Napoli and shortstop Gonzalez made the tag for one out.
The Red Sox still got two runs in the inning. Mike Carp and Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit back-to-back singles and scored easily when Drew — batting .136 coming in — tripled down the right field line and the Red Sox took their first lead at 3-1.
In the fifth, Gonzalez bobbled a grounder by Nava and his hurried throw sailed well over first baseman Carlos Pena, then the Boston dugout. Gonzalez got two errors — fielding and throwing — which led to another run when Dustin Pedroia drove in Nava with a double. Carp added a two-out double to score Pedroia for a 5-1 lead.
Notes: The Astros are 2-11 against Boston all time and winless in seven games at Fenway Park. ... Houston’s road trip continues Monday in New York, where the Astros open a three-game series against the Yankees. ... Jose Altuve went 0 for 4, ending his streak of reaching base in 17 straight games. ... The series sweep is the second this season for the Red Sox, who also swept Cleveland.