NEW YORK -- As a member of the Red Sox, John Lackey has become all too familiar with the homer-happy reputation that precedes Yankee Stadium.
Lackey allowed a career-high four home runs and the stuttering Red Sox offense could not keep pace with the Yankees' long ball barrage in a 7-4 loss on Saturday afternoon, the Red Sox's third loss in five games.
Lackey entered his third start looking to replicate the formula that helped him cruise to victory in his first two outings of the season -- namely, pounding the zone with mostly fastballs -- but the Yankees capitalized on his mistakes on an afternoon in which Yankee Stadium's short right-field wall appeared especially accommodating.
"You have to be extra careful in this whole division," Lackey said. "Where we play, it's pretty similar, just in the other direction, so it's something you kind of get used to. I just have to do a better job of keeping the ball in the yard."
The heart of New York's lineup, stacked with high-priced acquisitions from the past calendar year, led the onslaught that eventually chased Lackey from the game after 5 2/3 innings, as Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Alfonso Soriano combined to go 6-for-9 with four home runs and six RBIs the first three times through the order.
"He paid for some pitches that were up in the strike zone," manager John Farrell said of Lackey. "A couple of fastballs, one up to Beltran that he pulled back to the middle, and the other one first pitch of the fourth inning to McCann where he hits the ball out of the ballpark. Warmer weather, the ball was really carrying here today, but still, it was the mistakes up in the strike zone today."
Beltran opened the scoring in the first inning with a two-run blast into the right-field bleachers off an 0-2 fastball that Lackey left up in the strike zone. McCann sent Lackey's first pitch of the fourth inning into the second deck in right field for his first home run in pinstripes, and Soriano followed his catcher and roped a cutter on the outside corner to the opposite field and just over the wall for the Yankees' first back-to-back homers since June 6 of last season.
"I think that's what we're capable of," said McCann, who hit his first two home runs as a Yankee on Saturday. "We have a deep lineup that gets on base. We're capable of big innings. So far, so good."
McCann struck again in the sixth inning with a two-run homer that soared into the Yankees' bullpen. After Yangervis Solarte poked a single through the left side to put two men on with two outs later in the frame, Lackey was pulled, unable to last at least six innings for just the second time since the 2013 All-Star break. Lackey has struggled in his four starts at Yankee Stadium as a member of the Red Sox, posting an 8.34 ERA.
The Red Sox moved a runner into scoring position in four of the first five innings, but A.J. Pierzynski's two-run home run in the second stood as the only damage inflicted by the visitors in the early going.
Trailing, 6-2, Boston broke through for two more with a station-to-station rally in the seventh as New York starter Hiroki Kuroda reached the end of his rope. Kuroda walked two of the first three batters, and reliever Matt Thornton grazed Mike Napoli's jersey with an inside fastball to load the bases for Mike Carp. Carp poked a two-run single through the hole in the left side of the infield created by the defensive shift to pull within two runs.
"It was welcoming eyes to see something like that, especially being a guy that uses the whole field," Carp said. "[The shift] definitely doesn't faze me one bit."
However, Carp was thrown out trying to steal second, stopping the seventh-inning rally short with Napoli standing on third as the result of a calculated risk by Farrell with Xander Bogaerts behind in the count.
"On the 0-2 count, we gambled a little bit to get 90 feet," Farrell said. "I know we're down two with Xander [Bogaerts] at the plate. Down, an 0-2 count, thinking it might be a breaking ball, so we sent him just to try to create something and be a little bit more aggressive, and it didn't work out."
Kelly Johnson tacked on a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth, the Yankees' fifth home run of the day, to cap the scoring.
Pierzynski continued his hot week, collecting the third multihit game in his last four starts. After Bogaerts muscled a broken-bat single through the right side of the infield, Pierzynski struck on a sinker from Kuroda that missed its spot, sending his first home run in a Red Sox uniform two decks up in right.
Dustin Pedroia became Boston's fourth leadoff hitter this season as part of Farrell's continued shuffling of the lineup and broke out of an 0-for-12 slump with a double to begin the fifth inning. However, the next three Red Sox hitters were set down in order, leaving Pedroia stranded on third base.
"It's tough," Pedroia said of the team's offensive woes. "Obviously at the beginning of the season it's more magnified, but that'll change. Over the course of the year, that stuff will change. We're not going to go the whole year without scoring in the first inning."
Eric Single is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.