When John Lackey walked off the mound in the seventh inning at Fenway Park Wednesday afternoon, the crowd of 34,632 erupted in cheers.
Lackey matched his career best with 12 strikeouts as the Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies, 5-3, to sweep a two-game series.
Lackey (5-5) allowed two runs over seven strong and efficient innings. He threw first-pitch strikes to 22 of the 29 batters he faced and became the first Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 2003 to strike out at least 12 without issuing a walk.
Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara each pitched an inning in relief of Lackey. Uehara, the team’s new closer, recorded his second save of the season.
Lackey dropped his earned run average to 2.99.
The Red Sox are 47-33 with the season one game away from the midway point.
Making his second start of the season, Colorado righthander Roy Oswalt allowed five runs on nine hits over six innings.
The Sox scored three runs in the first inning. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a double and scored on a single by Shane Victorino. With one out, David Ortiz doubled to left field to drive in Victorino.
Ortiz scored on a two-out single by Daniel Nava, who hit a ground ball up the middle that deflected off second base.
The lead grew to 5-1 in the third inning. Victorino and Dustin Pedroia singled before Ortiz walked to load the bases with no outs. Mike Napoli’s single to right field scored Victorino. Nava then delivered a sacrifice fly to center field.
The Sox finished with 10 hits, three by Victorino. Jose Iglesias was 0 for 4, only his sixth hitless game of the season in 35 games with a plate appearance.
Michael Cuddyer hit two long home runs for the Rockies, extending his hitting streak to 23 games, which ties a team record.
The Red Sox are now 25-15 at Fenway, with victories in 12 of their last 16 games. They open a four-game series against Toronto Thursday night.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.