Lackey looks to avoid a third straight loss while trying to hand the All-Star and the Mariners an eighth consecutive defeat at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.
Though Boston (64-44) acquired veteran Jake Peavy from the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday as part of a three-team deal with Detroit, it likely can't afford Lackey (7-8, 3.19 ERA) to regress after his strong two-month stretch. The right-hander went 6-2 with a 2.32 ERA in his previous 11 starts before allowing nine runs and 19 hits over 12 2-3 innings in losing the last two.
Lackey gave up three homers and five runs overall in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-0 loss at Baltimore on Friday. His teammates, however, failed to score with him on the mound in both defeats.
"I felt OK, but they kind of took advantage of a couple of things," Lackey told the Red Sox's official website after his last outing. "I didn't pitch good enough."
Lackey hasn't faced the Mariners since 2011, but he's 4-1 with a 1.84 ERA in his last six against them.
Iwakuma (10-4, 2.87) yielded a season-high six runs and homers to Dustin Pedroia , David Ortiz and Mike Napoli in three innings but did not factor in the decision of an 11-8 loss to Boston on July 9. Since the shortest start of his career, the right-hander has posted a 2.25 ERA while winning three straight outings.
Iwakuma gave up four hits and struck out nine in six scoreless innings of an 8-2 win over Minnesota on Thursday.
"He did a great job of battling and working down in the zone," injured catcher Mike Zunino told the Mariners' official website. "The last few starts he's been really good at doing that."
Iwakuma hopes to help Seattle (50-56) end a seven-game skid at Fenway during which it's been outscored 44-18. The Mariners fanned 12 times, including nine against rookie Brandon Workman in Tuesday's 8-2 loss.
Pedroia homered and had three RBIs and Shane Victorino added three hits as a Boston bounced back after a blown call at the plate Monday overshadowed a 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay.
Boston trails the first-place Rays by one-half game in the AL East.
Pedroia was mired in a 2-for-35 slump heading into Tuesday's contest but is batting .407 (11 for 27) during Boston's home winning streak against the Mariners.
Victorino is 7 for 14 this season versus Seattle, which has lost four in a row overall against the Red Sox.
Morales is batting .315 with 11 RBIs in 18 games.
|July 26, 2013||Mike Zunino||15-Day DL||Fractured left hamate bone|
|July 11, 2013||Nick Franklin||Day-to-Day||Left game - knee soreness|
|July 11, 2013||Endy Chavez||Day-to-Day||Left game - groin tightness|
|June 29, 2013||Dustin Ackley||Day-to-Day||Left game - thumb|
|June 24, 2013||Franklin Gutierrez||Day-to-Day||Hamstring|
|June 24, 2013||Franklin Gutierrez||15-Day DL||Right hamstring strain|
|Boston Red Sox|
|July 19, 2013||Shane Victorino||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hamstring tightness|
|July 13, 2013||Andrew Bailey||15-Day DL||Right shoulder strain|
|July 09, 2013||Alex Wilson||15-Day DL||Sprained right thumb|
|July 08, 2013||Jacoby Ellsbury||Day-to-Day||Sore left wrist|
|July 07, 2013||Andrew Miller||60-Day DL||Left foot surgery - out for season|
|June 29, 2013||Stephen Drew||15-Day DL||Right hamstring tightness|
BOSTON (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox are back in first place after a 15-inning win that began in July and ended in August.
Stephen Drew finally got the decisive hit that lifted Boston to a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners in a game that ended 14 minutes after midnight on Thursday.
All it took was 5 hours, 3 minutes.
"It's just huge to get a win out of that game," Drew said. "Back and forth, their bullpen's doing well, our bullpen's doing well. We made some key plays that kept us in it."
One of the biggest was a baseball rarity - an unassisted double play by an outfielder.
The Mariners threatened in the 15th when one-out singles by Raul Ibanez and Endy Chavez put runners at first and second. Michael Saunders then hit a low liner to left. Jonny Gomes charged in and made a diving catch, then ran all the way to touch second base as Ibanez had no chance to get back.
"I've never had one and I've never seen one," Gomes said with a smile. "So that's why I'm glad I got it on my resume."
Ibanez was focused on trying to score the go-ahead run.
"I was erring on the side of being aggressive," he said. "I was just going on what I saw and where he was playing. I knew it was going to fade and it did, but he made a great play."
In the bottom of the inning, Dustin Pedroia drew a leadoff walk and took second on a groundout by David Ortiz . Mike Napoli was walked intentionally and Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out. Gomes then walked, loading the bases, and Drew hit a liner just inside the right-field line as Pedroia scored the decisive run.
The Red Sox had just one hit in their previous 30 at-bats before Drew's single.
"Finally, we were able to push one across after quite a drought," Boston manager John Farrell said.
Boston moved a half-game ahead of Tampa Bay in the AL East. The Rays lost 7-0 Wednesday night to the Arizona Diamondbacks .
Drew Britton (1-0) pitched two innings for his first major league win.
"I was prepared to go as long as they wanted me to," he said.
Lucas Luetge (0-2) took the loss.
"We battled for that whole game," Seattle acting manager Robby Thompson said. "We hit some balls hard and they made some good plays on them, including the one by Gomes. He was aggressive and made a good play on it and fooled Raul a little."
The Red Sox wasted an excellent chance in the 14th when Brandon Snyder led off with a pinch-hit double, Boston's first hit since the seventh, and took third on a sacrifice by Jacoby Ellsbury . But Snyder was thrown out trying to score on Shane Victorino 's fly to center fielder Saunders, ending the inning.
The Mariners also threatened in the 11th and 12th but stranded two runners in each inning.
Boston's previous longest game this year lasted 14 innings, a 10-8 win over Tampa Bay on June 10. Five days earlier, Seattle played its longest game, a 7-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox in 16 innings.
Kyle Seager had tied the game at 4 in the eighth with his 17th homer of the year. Pedroia had given the Red Sox a 4-3 lead with a two-run homer in the seventh, his eighth.
The Mariners went ahead 1-0 in the fourth on a run-scoring double by Seager before the Red Sox took the lead with two unearned runs in the fifth.
Brock Holt led off with a double and took third when center fielder Dustin Ackley dropped Ellsbury's low liner for an error. Victorino then grounded to second baseman Nick Franklin , who may have been distracted when Ellsbury ran in front of him.
Franklin bobbled the ball for another error as Holt scored. Pedroia then grounded into a forceout at second base, allowing Ellsbury to score.
The Mariners took a 3-2 lead with two runs in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Kendry Morales and an RBI single by Ibanez.
Boston starter John Lackey shook off a liner off his left heel by Ackley in the third. John Farrell and a trainer went toward the mound, but Lackey waved them away before they arrived.
NOTES: Seager went 3 for 6 and hit .396 in July (38 for 96). ... Lackey allowed at least three runs for the third straight game after giving up two or less in six consecutive starts. ...Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma gave up no earned runs for his second straight outing. ... The Red Sox recalled Holt from Triple-A Pawtucket. He started in place of Jose Iglesias , who went to the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night in a three-team, seven-player trade that brought RHP Jack Peavy to Boston. Peavy is expected to join the Red Sox on Thursday and pitch during the seven-game homestand that ends Sunday. ... Felix Hernandez (11-4) pitches for Seattle in the final of the three-game series against Ryan Dempster (6-8).