OAKLAND, Calif. — It was just like old times for Boston Red Sox right-hander John Lackey on Friday night at O.co Coliseum.
The former Angel beat the Oakland A’s for the 19th time in his career, allowing three hits and two runs in seven innings and leading Boston to a 4-2 victory.
Lackey, who missed the entire 2012 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, had a no-hitter through four innings and improved to 19-6 lifetime against the A’s. He has more wins, starts (34) and innings pitched (220 2/3) against the A’s than any other active pitcher. His winning percentage of .760 is the highest of any active pitcher with at least 15 decisions against Oakland.
“There’s a comfort level being here, for sure,” Lackey said. “I’ve pitched here a number of times and had some pretty good nights here. They’re a good team right now. It was a tough challenge.”
The Red Sox improved to 58-37 — the American League’s best record — and have more wins before the All-Star Game break than any other team in Boston history. The A’s fell to 54-39 but still have the AL’s second-best record.
“It was a good win for us,” said Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who snapped a 2-2 tie with a two-run, two-out single in the eighth off reliever Ryan Cook. “They got a great team over there, so it’s good to win the first game of the series.”
Lackey has allowed three or fewer runs in 14 of his 16 starts and notched his 12th quality start, but he walked a season-high four against the patient A’s.
“I didn’t really feel as good as I have the last four or five times, but I was able to kind of grind through it,” Lackey said.
A’s right-hander Jarrod Parker allowed two run and three hits in seven innings but had his fourth straight no-decision. Parker’s career-high-tying four-game winning streak is still intact, but he has not won a game since June 18 at Texas.
“We know we need to play the game,” Parker said. “That’s pitching well and getting a couple of big hits. We were in that game the whole time.”
In the top of the eighth, Jose Iglesias sliced a leadoff single to right off A’s reliever Sean Doolittle, moved to second on Brock Holt’s sacrifice bunt and reached third on Jacoby Ellsbury’s groundout.
After Shane Victorino was hit in the right thumb by a Doolittle pitch, Cook came on to face Pedroia. Victorino stole second and Pedroia lined a Cook fastball for two-run single to left.
“They capitalized on some of the mistakes we made,” Doolittle said. “That’s what a good team does.”
Former A’s closer Andrew Bailey threw a scoreless eighth for the Red Sox and Koji Uehara struck out the side in the ninth for his eighth save.
The Red Sox made a trade Friday night to bolster their bullpen, acquiring Chicago White Sox left-hander Matt Thornton for Double-A outfielder Brandon Jacobs.
To make room for Thornton on their 40-man roster, the Red Sox transferred left-hander Andrew Miller (left foot) from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list. Miller was injured Saturday against the Angels and will undergo season-ending surgery.
Thornton, in his 10th major-league season, is 32-41 with a 3.53 ERA in 586 appearances, including one start.
“A guy with some power,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Thornton. “He’s had a number of good years for Chicago. I think he’ll fit in very well in our bullpen.”
NOTES: Home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor had to leave the game during the top of the second inning after being hit hard in the mask with a Parker pitch that deflected off Daniel Nava. First base umpire Bill Miller, the crew chief, moved behind the plate. … Boston RHP Clay Buchholz (right shoulder) threw a 30- to 35-pitch bullpen session on Friday and will throw another bullpen session on Sunday in Oakland instead of making a previously planned minor-league rehab start, Red Farrell said. The new plan calls for Buchholz to pitch a simulated game before making one rehab start. Buchholz will continue his rehab work next week in New York when he takes part in the All-Star Game festivities. “The most important thing is there’s no issues shoulder-wise, any kind of discomfort,” Farrell said. … Red Sox RHP Brandon Workman will make his first major-league start on Sunday against the A’s, Farrell said. Workman made his major-league debut on Wednesday. … A’s INF Adam Rosales, who was designated for assignment on Monday, cleared waivers and was sent to Triple-A Sacramento.