NEW YORK — With every pitch John Lackey threw, that short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium seemed to move closer and closer.
Lackey was tagged for a career-high four home runs Saturday, with Brian McCann connecting twice to lead the New York Yankees over the Boston Red Sox 7-4.
“The mistakes he made were up and unfortunately in this park, you pay for those mistakes, especially to right field. All of them were hit for homers and that’s the way it goes here,” Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.
McCann put an emphatic end to his season-opening slump, hitting his first home runs for his new team. Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano and Kelly Johnson also teed off as the Yankees scored all their runs on homers.
“Warmer weather. The ball was really carrying here today. But still, it was mistakes up in the strike zone today,” Boston manager John Farrell said.
Lackey was pulled after 5 2-3 innings. His problems started right away.
Jacoby Ellsbury bunted for a two-out single in the first and Beltran homered on an 0-2 pitch right down the middle. Lackey was already stalking toward the plate to get a new ball from the umpire before Beltran reached second base.
“I just left it over the plate. It wasn’t a very good pitch, up in the zone. One of those I’d like to have back, for sure,” Lackey said.
A quick deficit for the World Series champions, who haven’t scored in the first inning in any of their 12 games this season. Farrell moved Dustin Pedroia from the second slot into the leadoff spot — the All-Star went 1 for 5 and is hitting .236, without a home run or walk so far.
“We’re doing what we can. Trying different things as far as the lineup goes, trying different combinations to get a little bit of a jump start. It’s required our starters to come out of the bullpen ready to roll from the first inning on,” Farrell said.
Lackey (2-1) threw plenty of strikes, but gave up 10 hits. He walked none, fanned six and missed a chance to get off to a 3-0 start for the first time in his career.
New York has won two of three in a series that wraps up Sunday night.
Pierzynski hit his first home run for the Red Sox.
After striking out in the first inning and dropping his batting average to .158, McCann quickly reversed his fortunes. The seven-time All-Star who left Atlanta to sign an $85 million, five-year deal with the Yankees led off the fourth with a liner into the first row of the second deck in right field, far beyond the 314-foot mark.
The fans were still cheering when Soriano followed with his third home run of the week.
Beltran opened the sixth with a double and McCann homered to right-center. It was the catcher’s 10th career multihomer game.
“The last one was a bad pitch, to McCann. Slider, didn’t do anything,” Lackey said of the homers. “The two in between were kind of, you know, playing here.”
Hiroki Kuroda (2-1) pitched into the seventh, and reliever Matt Thornton gave up Mike Carp’s two-run single that made it 6-4. With runners at the corners, Carp was caught stealing for the third out with Xander Bogaerts batting.
“On the 0-2 count, we gambled a bit to get 90 feet. I know we’re down two with Xander at the plate, down an 0-2 count, thinking it might be a breaking ball, so we sent him just to try to create something, be a little bit more aggressive. It didn’t work out,” Farrell said.
Shawn Kelley pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.
WHITE SOX 6
CHICAGO — Ryan Raburn hit a tiebreaking, two-run single with two outs in the seventh inning to lead Cleveland over Chicago.
Nick Swisher, Jason Kipnis and David Murphy homered for Cleveland, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Murphy added a bases-loaded triple in a four-run ninth against Donnie Veal.
The Indians improved to 18-4 against the White Sox since the beginning of last season, overcoming another shaky start by Justin Masterson. Josh Outman (2-0), Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen combined for 3 1-3 innings of one-hit relief before closer John Axford finished in a non-save situation.
Adam Eaton hit his first homer for the White Sox. Ronald Belisario (1-1) took the loss.
MINNEAPOLIS — Joe Mauer hit his first home run of the season and Ricky Nolasco earned his initial win for Minnesota in a victory over Kansas City.
A day after getting his first RBI of the year, Mauer hit a three-run shot against James Shields. Brian Dozier connected for his fourth home run, a leadoff drive for the Twins.
Nolasco (1-1) showed why the Twins signed him to a $49 million, four-year contract to steady their rotation. In his first home start for Minnesota, the right-hander went eight innings and allowed five hits.
Shields (0-2) yielded seven runs — one earned — in 5 2-3 innings.
ST. LOUIS — Matt Adams homered, Matt Carpenter drove in two runs and Adam Wainwright saved a tired bullpen by lasting seven innings for the St. Louis Cardinals in their 10-4 win over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
It was hardly a vintage performance by Wainwright (2-1), who struck out eight and helped his own cause with an RBI single. He gave up Junior Lake’s homer on his first pitch and allowed six more hits after that. The four runs were twice as many as Wainwright yielded in his first two starts.
St. Louis did most of its damage off starter Carlos Villanueva (1-3), who allowed nine runs and 10 hits in three innings.
SAN FRANCISCO — Tommy Kahnle and four relievers combined for two-hit ball over six innings after Brett Anderson was injured, leading Colorado past Matt Cain and San Francisco.
Troy Tulowitzki had a sacrifice fly in the third, and Kahnle (2-0) allowed one baserunner in two innings. Matt Belisle, Adam Ottavino, Rex Brothers and LaTroy Hawkins pitched an inning apiece to complete the three-hitter, with Hawkins earning his second save.
Rockies relievers extended their scoreless streak to 9 2-3 innings in the series.
Anderson left with a bruised left index finger after allowing a hit in three innings. It was the Rockies’ third win in their last 17 games at San Francisco’s waterfront ballpark.
Cain (0-2) allowed four hits over seven innings with eight strikeouts and three walks. He is winless in his last seven starts at home.
RAYS 1, REDS 0
CINCINNATI — Alex Cobb went seven innings to extend Tampa Bay’s run of solid starting pitching, and James Loney homered against slumping Cincinnati.
The Rays came into the interleague series with a 1-8 mark against Cincinnati. They’ve taken the first two games with shutdown pitching and just enough offense.
Cobb (1-1) pitched seven shutout innings against Texas on Sunday but got a no-decision. He kept the scoreless streak going Saturday, limiting Cincinnati’s struggling lineup to four hits without walking a batter.
Grant Balfour got three outs for his fourth save, finishing the four-hitter.
Loney led off the second inning with his first homer against Alfredo Simon (1-1), who matched his career high with eight innings and allowed only five hits.
Cincinnati stranded a pair at third base and had runners thrown out at third and home. The Reds have lost all four of their series this season, falling to 3-8 for the first time since 1995, when they won the NL Central.
PHOENIX — Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer, Zack Greinke improved to 3-0 and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Gonzalez, who had a two-run homer and five RBIs in the series opener Friday, followed that up with a shot to the left-field seats off Wade Miley (2-2) with two outs in the third inning.
Greinke (3-0) gave up a run on eight hits in 5 1-3 innings, striking out eight with no walks.
Miley, who has two of Arizona’s three wins this season, gave up five runs and eight hits in five innings.
A.J. Pollock had a pinch-hit homer for the Diamondbacks, who scored three in the ninth off Brandon League, two on Mark Trumbo’s two-out double.
Kenley Jansen came in to strike out Gerardo Parra and earn his third save.
Juan Uribe doubled twice and had a two-run single for Los Angeles. Yasiel Puig had a pair of singles, driving in a run.
The Dodgers, who have won four of five, got the leadoff batter on base five times in the first six innings, three via walks, and four of them scored.
Los Angeles scored twice without an out in the second inning. Gonzalez drew a leadoff walk, Scott Van Slyke doubled to put runners at second and third, and Uribe singled to bring both of them home.
Puig led off the third with a single, then with two outs Gonzalez homered to make it 4-0 and give the slugger seven RBIs in the first 12 innings of the series.
Los Angeles added a fifth run in the fourth. Justin Turner led off with a double and scored on Puig’s two-out single.