BOSTON -- After exhausting every available arm out of the bullpen in Wednesday night's rain-delayed contest, the Red Sox needed John Lackey to pitch as far as he could Thursday.
But Lackey lasted just four-plus innings as the Angels sent him to the clubhouse in the fifth inning, and Joel Pineiro shut down the Red Sox's offense in Boston's 11-0 loss.
"He didn't have his best stuff," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said of Lackey. "But we knew going in we had to go deep into the game, so I think we tried to do the best we could to go deep. He made a few mistakes, [but] they just came out swinging today knowing that we had to throw strikes and go deep."
Lackey gave up eight runs on 10 hits, three walks and one hit batsman. Until Thursday, Boston pitchers had held opponents to five runs or fewer over each of the last 18 games since April 16. The Sox had a Major League-best 2.45 ERA in that span.
Lackey appeared ready to go Thursday afternoon, getting through two uneventful innings before eventually running into trouble in the third, allowing three runs on a walk, one hit batsman and two hits. The fourth wasn't much better, as Lackey got the first two outs before giving up five consecutive singles that yielded three more runs.
"He got to about the third inning and he nicked [Peter] Borjous with an 0-2 pitch and then everything seemed to kind of flatten out a little bit and stay in the middle," manager Terry Francona said.
After 91 pitches through four innings, Francona opted to leave Lackey in to pitch the fifth rather than turn to a depleted bullpen that just lost Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler to the 15-day disabled list. Vernon Wells knocked a base hit to center and Mark Trumbo drilled a curveball into the third row of the Monster Seats to cap a dreadful ending to Lackey's day.
"We did a good job against a terrific pitcher who's been good against us," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "When John made a mistake, we put it in play."
"Even though he's on the other side," Torii Hunter said of Lackey, "we know him, love him. It's hard to see him get booed like that. He's going to be fine. He's just gotta keep grinding."
While the sturdy right-hander's velocity sat in the low-90's early on, it began to fade in the third and fourth innings, eventually settling in the high 80s.
Lackey insisted he wasn't tired, and Saltalamacchia chalked up the poor outing to Lackey's inability to locate his curveball, which has given him success his last three starts.
"His curveball had good bite, he just wasn't able to get a first strike when we needed it," the catcher said. "[When the count is] 2-1, 3-1, he's usually able to do that. But he's not throwing 95 [mph], so you can't just rely on the fastball every time. We just weren't able to get back into counts."
It was the second time this season Lackey has allowed at least eight runs, as he became only the second Red Sox pitcher in the past 90 seasons to give up eight-plus earned runs twice in the team's first 31 games.
The Angels also stole four bases off Lackey and Saltalamacchia. Saltalamacchia has allowed 25 stolen bases this season, most among American League catchers.
Scott Atchison came on to relieve Lackey in the fifth, fresh off his promotion from Triple-A Pawtucket, where he had struck out 17 batters over 17 1/3 innings with a 1.04 ERA.
He retired the first batter he faced before a bizarre play led to another Angels run. Bourjos smacked a ground ball past a diving Jed Lowrie, who appeared to injure his left wrist on the play but stayed in the game, and then took second base with Lowrie hunched over on the center field grass. Kevin Youkilis dove into second to try to tag out Bourjos, but Youkilis also appeared to be injured as Bourjos ran to third base, which was left uncovered, and scored later in the inning.
Francona said Lowrie's wrist was OK, but Youkilis has a bruise on his left hand.
Atchison tossed 3 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, and Francona said the team needed it.
"And now maybe we can go win the game tomorrow because he stayed out there today," Francona said.
The Red Sox couldn't get much going against Pineiro though, who was making his second start of the season after opening the year on the DL with a sore pitching shoulder. Pineiro held Boston scoreless through 5 2/3 innings, allowing just three hits and inducing three double plays.
Carl Crawford -- batting out of the two-hole for the slumping Dustin Pedroia, who got the day off -- collected one of Boston's seven hits on the day, giving Crawford a five-game hitting streak. He's raised his average from .155 to .197 during that time.
The 11-0 win was the Angels' largest margin of victory in a shutout win over Boston in club history, but Saltalamacchia wasn't using the five-hour game Wednesday as an excuse.
"It's not ideal, but both teams had to do it. We just forget about this one turn the page and go on to tomorrow," he said. "[That was] as good as it's going to be getting home at 3:30 in the morning. It could have easily gone either way. If we go out and score five or six runs, they'd get a little lethargic, but that's the way the game goes."
Jason Mastrodonato is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.