ARLINGTON, TEXAS – Boston Red Sox right-hander John Lackey felt right at home, putting on his boots and a wide-brim cowboy hat after another solid outing.
With the Lone Star State native on the mound and a couple of former Rangers catchers getting run-producing hits, the Red Sox got a series-clinching 5-2 victory at Texas on Sunday. Boston is above .500 for the first time since three games into the season.
After A.J. Pierzynski and Mike Napoli provided a 3-0 lead before his first pitch, Lackey (5-2) struck out nine while allowing two runs over seven innings. The big right-hander threw 75 of 105 pitches for strikes without any walks.
“It’s nice to go out there when you already have a 3-0 lead,” Lackey said. “It kind of lets you relax a little bit and pound the strike zone.”
A few teammates called out “country boy” and “cowboy” as he stood at his locker after the game. He was headed to his home in nearby Fort Worth, and planned to spend time Monday — an off day for the Red Sox — at his ranch.
“He threw the ball great,” Pierzynski said. “We jumped on them a little bit early and got some runs. That kind of put it in cruise control. “
Napoli put the Red Sox ahead to stay with an RBI double, two batters before Pierzynski’s two-run single off Robbie Ross (1-4). Both went to Boston as free agents after being in Texas — Pierzynski was the Rangers primary catcher last season, and Napoli was there the previous two years.
Koji Uehara, who also went from Texas to Boston in 2013, worked a perfect ninth for his ninth save in a row.
Royals 9, Mariners 7
In Seattle, Alcides Escobar hit a grand slam and Johnny Giavotella added a three-run shot to give Kansas City a comeback victory over the Mariners.
Norichika Aoki was 1-for-5 with an RBI for the Royals.
Indians 6, Rays 5
In St. Petersburg, Florida, Josh Tomlin won his second straight start, and Nyjer Morgan and Michael Bourn both drove in two runs.
Astros 5, Orioles 2
In Baltimore, Jason Castro and Marc Krauss homered to account for all of Houston’s runs as the Astros beat the Orioles to avoid a three-game sweep.
Angels 9, Blue Jays 3
In Toronto, Jered Weaver won his fourth straight decision, and Hank Conger hit a three-run homer and had a career-high five RBIs.
Twins 4, Tigers 3
In Detroit, Eduardo Nunez hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning as Minnesota rallied for a victory over the Tigers.
Athletics 9, Nationals 1
In Oakland, Derek Norris hit a pair of three-run home runs to back Scott Kazmir’s fifth win as the Athletics beat Washington to complete a series sweep.
Diamondbacks 5, White Sox 1
In Chicago, Chase Anderson won his major league debut, and Gerardo Parra and Miguel Montero homered.
Brewers 6, Yankees 5
In Milwaukee, Mark Reynolds hit a game-ending single with two outs in the ninth inning for the Brewers.
Ichiro Suzuki was 0-for-2 with a walk for New York.
Giants 7, Dodgers 4 (10)
In Los Angeles, Pablo Sandoval and Hector Sanchez hit RBI singles in the 10th inning.
Reds 4, Rockies 1
In Cincinnati, Aroldis Chapman made his first major league appearance since being hit above the eye by a line drive during spring training, striking out the side in the ninth inning with his 161 kph fastball to close out a Reds victory over Colorado.
Braves 5, Cubs 2
In Atlanta, Evan Gattis hit a tiebreaking homer and Jason Heyward added a two-run shot.
Mets 5, Phillies 4 (11)
In New York, Daniel Murphy and the Mets suddenly rallied for three runs in the ninth inning against Philadelphia’s improvised bullpen.
Padres 5, Marlins 4
In San Diego, Will Venable hit a leadoff homer as the Padres beat Miami for their first three-game winning streak of the season.
Cardinals 6, Pirates 5
In Pittsburgh, Shelby Miller won his fourth straight start and Trevor Rosenthal induced a bases-loaded double play to end the game as St. Louis held off the Pirates.