The success John Lackey enjoyed during the 2013 postseason has carried over through the first two weeks this year.
The right-hander looks to start 3-0 for the first time in his 12-year career Saturday when the visiting Boston Red Sox try for a second straight win over the New York Yankees.
Lackey (2-0, 1.38 ERA) went 10-13 with a 3.52 ERA over 29 regular-season starts last year in his return from missing 2012 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He then capped his comeback by going 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA in five games and four starts during Boston's run to a World Series title.
He opened this season by allowing a two-run homer and two other hits in six innings of a 6-2 win at Baltimore on April 2, then gave up a run and five hits over seven in Monday's 5-1 victory over Texas.
"He's done a great job of commanding his fastball," manager John Farrell told the Red Sox's official website. "He's been efficient. To see how he's come off the Tommy John (surgery) and how he's carried his stamina throughout (more than) 200 innings last year, including the postseason, it's a testament to his work ethic."
Despite a 5.76 ERA in four starts against the Yankees last year, Lackey went 2-1 while receiving an average of 7.56 runs of support. In his only 2013 outing in the Bronx, Lackey gave up seven runs in 5 2-3 innings and still came out ahead in a 13-9 victory Sept. 7.
He'll try to help the Red Sox (5-6) build on a 4-2 win Friday in a game minus any controversy. A night earlier in New York's 4-1 series-opening victory, Yankees starter Michael Pineda was caught on camera with a brown substance on his hand. He is not expected to be suspended by Major League Baseball.
Grady Sizemore hit a three-run homer and Jonny Gomes added a solo shot for Boston, which has homered four times in three games after hitting five in its first eight.
Sizemore, who hadn't played since 2011 because of back problems, earned the starting center field job in spring training and has played left field in this series. He's batting .333 (10 for 33) with two homers overall.
Jacoby Ellsbury, who patrolled the outfield for the Red Sox for seven seasons, is batting .350 with the Yankees and is 2 for 7 with a RBI in the two games against his former team.
Teammate Alfonso Soriano went 2 for 4 with a solo homer Friday for New York, which has dropped three of four at home.
Scheduled New York starter Hiroki Kuroda (1-1, 2.92) has been solid in his two starts, allowing two runs in each and striking out nine with a walk over 12 1-3 innings. He yielded eight hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-2 win over Baltimore on Monday.
The right-hander went 1-4 with a 4.88 ERA in six starts versus Boston in 2013, including 0-2 with a 4.97 ERA in three at Yankee Stadium.
It's uncertain if Boston closer Koji Uehara will be available after he was held out Friday because of right shoulder stiffness. He's converted both save chances and hasn't allowed a run while fanning seven without a walk in five innings this season.
"We felt it was best to stay away from (Uehara)," Farrell said. "It'll be a day-to-day thing."
The Associated Press News Service
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