By Jeff Louderback
Call him the bad luck starter.
The Red Sox have now been blanked seven times this season, including four times with John Lackey on the mound. Though the veteran right-hander limited Houston to two runs and over hits over six-plus innings on Monday, left-hander Brett Oberholtzer and two relievers sealed a 2-0 Astros victory at Minute Maid Park.
Lackey, who struck out 10 batters, has 14 quality starts in 20 total appearances this season. The Red Sox are 8-6 in those games, but overall Lackey has a 7-9 record with a 3.21 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP and 118 strikeouts in 126 innings.
On Monday, though he kept the Astros offense mostly quiet, the Red Sox had no answer for Oberholtzer, who shutout Baltimore in his previous start while allowing three hits in seven innings. The Red Sox managed just four hits off Oberholtzer in seven innings and five hits overall.
Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow each recorded a scoreless inning to keep Boston in the game, but the Red Sox were unable to produce against Wesley Wright and former Boston farmhand Josh Fields, who was selected by Houston from the Red Sox in last December’s Rule 5 Draft.
Now 68-46, the Red Sox have a half-game lead over Tampa Bay in the American League East. The Rays were idle on Monday and have a two-game series in Arizona starting on Tuesday. The Red Sox have two more in Houston followed by four in Kansas City and three in Toronto.