BOSTON – A rookie in Florida. A veteran in Boston. The San Diego Padres can't steer clear of dominant pitchers along the East Coast.
One night after struggling just to reach base in a loss to Miami, the slumping Padres managed just six hits off Boston's John Lackey in a 4-1 setback to the Red Sox on Tuesday night.
"That's as good as I've seen John throw in a number of years," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "We couldn't solve him."
Believe it or not, the Padres had an even more difficult time Monday, when Marlins rookie Jose Fernandez allowed just two hits over a career-high eight innings, striking out 10 in a 4-0 win.
Lackey (6-5) was a bit more lenient, allowing Jesus Guzman's solo homer in the seventh inning.
That was it, though, as the Padres lost their fourth straight game and for the sixth time in their last seven.
The top four batters in San Diego's lineup went a combined 0 for 15 with a walk, while the bottom five went 6 for 18.
"You look up and he had 50 pitches and it looked like 45 of them were strikes," said catcher Nick Hundley, who doubled in the fifth. "He was pounding the zone, did a good job. It felt like every count was 0-1, 0-2.
"He didn't make too many mistakes, and the way he's been throwing lately, we knew it was going to be a good battle for us coming in. We had some chances there, but not a whole lot."
Brandon Snyder hit a bases-clearing double for the Red Sox, who won for the sixth time in seven games.
Lackey walked just one while moving above .500 for the first time since late in 2011. He has won four straight decisions and appears well-healed from the right biceps strain that landed him on the disabled list after his first start.
Koji Uehara replaced Lackey in the ninth and struck out two, earning his fifth save for Boston.
Making just his third career start, San Diego rookie Robbie Erlin (1-1) allowed three runs on five hits over 3 2-3 innings, striking out one and walking three before getting pulled after Snyder's three-run double in the third put Boston up 3-0.
"Another learning experience for Robbie, a young pitcher cutting his teeth," Black said. "He'll be better off for a game like tonight."
Erlin was solid through the first three innings, but could not get himself out of trouble in the fourth. David Ortiz led off with a single and Mike Napoli followed with a walk. After striking out Jonny Gomes for the first out, Erlin walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia to load the bases for Snyder.
Snyder forced Erlin to throw nine pitches, fouling off five before hitting a double off the upper right corner of the Green Monster; just a few feet more to the right and it would have been a grand slam. Snyder was thrown out trying to stretch out a triple.
"Honestly, I felt like I was one pitch away the entire time until that last pitch," Erlin said. "I tried to go inside, left it belt-high over the plate, and he hit it off the wall."
Lackey needed only six pitches to get out of the sixth inning before Guzman spoiled the shutout bid in the seventh with a shot off the top of the Green Monster. The umpires held Guzman at second briefly before conferring and ruling it was a homer without going to video replay. Boston fans booed the call, but replays showed it was correct.
Ortiz hit his 500th career double in the first and Jose Iglesias added an RBI single in the sixth for Boston.
NOTES: The fifth all-time series between the Padres and Red Sox continues Wednesday with RHP Edinson Volquez (6-6) starting for San Diego against Jon Lester (8-4). ... Ortiz became the 58th major leaguer to hit 500 doubles and the fifth active player to do so. ... Snyder was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket the previous week and had two RBIs entering the game. ... Boston CF Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 12 games. ... Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia has reached base safely in 43 of 45 home games this season. ... San Diego SS Pedro Ciriaco returned to Fenway Park for the first time since being acquired by the Padres on June 14 for cash, and got a quiet but warm round of applause in his first at-bat.