John Lackey tossed eight outstanding innings and Brandon Snyder delivered a three-run double that helped the Boston Red Sox to a 4-1 victory over the slumping San Diego Padres in the opener of a three-game interleague series from Fenway Park.
Lackey (6-5) limited the Padres to six hits and struck out six with just one walk to improve to 5-1 over his last nine starts. The veteran right-hander's only blemish of the evening came when Jesus Guzman homered to lead off the top of the seventh inning.
"Once again, very good command, a lot of strikes. An outstanding performance on his part," manager John Farrell said. "All this is based on the work that John has put in and it's great to see it taking place."
Jose Iglesias finished 2-for-3 with an RBI single in the win, the sixth in seven games for the AL-leading Red Sox, who received two hits as well from Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz and Jonny Gomes.
San Diego, meanwhile, was dealt a fourth straight loss and have mustered a mere four runs during that stretch.
Guzman accounted for two of the Padres' six hits. San Diego starter Robbie Erlin (1-1) lasted just 3 2/3 innings, surrendering three runs on five hits and walking three batters.
Erlin worked in and out of trouble for much of his first career major league start on the road, keeping the contest scoreless through three innings with the aid of a perfect relay throw from second baseman Logan Forsythe that gunned down Dustin Pedroia attempting to cross the plate on Ortiz's double to end the bottom of the first.
The rookie couldn't prevent Boston from doing damage in the fourth, though.
After an Ortiz single and a pair of walks loaded the bases with just one out, Snyder concluded a nine-pitch battle with Erlin by drilling a fastball high off the Green Monster that cleared the sacks and ended the young lefty's night.
"My offspeed stuff wasn't there, my fastball command was spotty," Erlin said. "I just got in a jam [in the fourth] and made a mistake."
Lackey, on the other hand, cruised through San Diego's sputtering lineup until encountering a jam in the fifth. The Padres placed two in scoring position with none out on a Nick Hundley double and Alexi Amarista's single, but neither former Red Sox Pedro Ciriaco nor Forsythe could get the ball out of the infield and push a run across before Lackey got Chris Denorfia to line to second and stop the threat.
Boston gave Lackey some additional breathing room when Gomes doubled off Tim Stauffer to open the bottom of the sixth and later came around on Iglesias' two-out single for a 4-0 lead.
Guzman finally got San Diego on the board by beginning the seventh with his fourth homer of the season, which halted a string of 17 consecutive innings in which the Padres failed to score.
San Diego managed just one more baserunner the rest of the way, with Lackey setting down six of the final seven hitters he faced.
Koji Uehara tossed a perfect ninth to post his fifth save of the season.
Ortiz's double in the first inning was the 500th of his career and extended his hitting streak to eight games, while Ellsbury is now batting .412 (21- for-51) during a 12-game tear after finishing 2-for-4 ... Lackey lowered his AL-leading ERA in home games to 1.32 on the season ... Padres manager Bud Black and Red Sox skipper John Farrell were teammates with the Cleveland Indians from 1988-90 and opposed one another for the first time in their present positions ... The Red Sox are an MLB-best 121-66 in interleague play since 2003 and have won 14 of their last 18 clashes with the NL.