BOSTON (AP) — One night after setting season highs for both runs and hits in a thumping of Texas, the Boston Red Sox couldn't muster much support for starter John Lackey in a 3-2 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday.
Lackey, however, will take his performance every time out.
The right-hander delivered his fourth straight quality start, allowing just one run on five hits with five strikeouts and no walks over six innings.
"I think I'll take giving up one run for the rest of the way," he said after his first no-decision of the season. "I feel pretty good. I feel like I'm competing at a pretty high level right now."
The 34-year-old spent time on the disabled list earlier this season with a right biceps strain, which came after he missed the entire 2012 season following successful Tommy John surgery to reconstruct a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
Lackey threw 108 pitches against Texas. He has surrendered three earned runs or less in eight of his nine starts this season, permitting one earned run or less in five of those outings.
"He's a veteran guy with a lot of success, and now that the competing with his own body is behind him, yeah, I see that growing each time he goes out there," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Lackey likes the results so far.
"I'm definitely happy where I'm at," he said, "but you guys keep thinking I'm surprised that I'm successful. I've been pretty good in this league a few times."
Lackey's lone mistake Wednesday came in the fourth inning on a 1-2 cutter to Adrian Beltre, who hit the pitch into the center-field stands for his 12th home run and a 1-0 lead.
"One pitch, that's really what it came down to is one pitch," Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "And at the end of the night you can hang your hat on that."
It was too bad for Lackey that he wasn't on the mound Tuesday night, when the Red Sox had 19 hits in a 17-5 rout of the Rangers.
"We couldn't put any runs on the board for him, which kind of stinks," Saltalamacchia said. "I think for a personal note, it was good for him to go out there and throw like that."
Elvis Andrus hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the seventh inning after earlier ending a 1-for-18 slump as the Rangers snapped a four-game road losing streak.
Saltalamacchia doubled in a run for Boston in the eighth, but Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 18th save in 19 chances.
Neal Cotts (1-0) got the win despite walking three of the four batters he faced. Craig Breslow (2-1) took the loss.
Dustin Pedroia tied the game with his fourth homer in the sixth off Alexi Ogando, who returned after being on the disabled list since May 16 with a strained right biceps.
Andrus singled in the fifth then got the big hit on the first pitch from reliever Koji Uehara.
Breslow had relieved Lackey to start the inning and allowed a leadoff double to Mitch Moreland, who left the game with tightness in his right hamstring and was replaced by pinch-runner Jeff Baker. After Jurickson Profar grounded out, pinch-hitter Craig Gentry walked and Uehara replaced Breslow to face Andrus, who broke the 1-1 tie.
Ogando struck out six, walked three and gave up three hits in his first appearance since May 15. Lackey struck out five and allowed five hits and no walks in six innings.
Boston threatened with no outs in the seventh when Stephen Drew led off with a walk and went to second on a single by Jose Iglesias. After Jackie Bradley Jr. struck out, both runners advanced on a wild pitch. But Daniel Nava grounded out and Jonny Gomes flied out.
Saltalamacchia's double drove in Mike Napoli, who walked with two outs.
NOTES: Iglesias reached base for the 17th time in his 18 games. ... To make room for Ogando, the Rangers sent LHP Joseph Ortiz to Triple-A Round Rock. Ortiz allowed six runs in 2 1-3 innings in Boston's 17-5 win on Tuesday night. ... Derek Holland (5-2) pitches for Texas against Jon Lester (6-2) on Thursday night.