Sox get short sweep

Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Jarrod Saltalamacchia and the Boston Red Sox tossed Todd Helton and the Colorado Rockies a two-game sweep after they beat the Rockies 5-3 on Wednesday in Boston.

By Matthew Carroll
The Associated Press

BOSTON

It was a rough return to Fenway Park for the Colorado Rockies.

Roy Oswalt didn’t fare much better in his encore, either.

Oswalt struggled early in his first career start against Boston, and the Red Sox completed a two-game sweep of the Rockies with a 5-3 victory on Wednesday.

Michael Cuddyer hit two solo home runs for Colorado, which was making its first visit to Boston since losing the first two games of the 2007 World Series.

After an 11-4 loss on Tuesday, the Rockies managed just two runs off Boston’s John Lackey in losing for the 10th time in their last 14 games. Colorado fell to 3-12 in interleague games this season.

“We’re not going to sit and think about this road trip,” Colorado manager Walt Weiss said following a 2-7 trip. “We’ll show up at Coors (Field) (Thursday) and try to win that game (Thursday), and the next day we’ll do the same thing. We’ll just keep grinding along.”

Sort of like Oswalt.

The 35-year-old right-hander signed a minor league contract May 2 and returned to the majors last Thursday, striking out 11 without allowing a walk against Washington.

Oswalt (0-2) gave up five runs on nine hits in six innings against the Red Sox. He struck out five and walked one.

He previously had faced the Red Sox only once during his 13-year career, surrendering four runs in 1 1/3 innings of a relief appearance Aug. 8, 2012.

“I felt like both starts (this season) actually were better than what they turned out to be,” Oswalt said. “Maybe the next two starts I get some lucky breaks. It seems like the first two I’ve had a couple of breaks here and there that didn’t really fall my way, but I’m going to keep throwing strikes and make them hit the ball and see what happens.”

Weiss wasn’t shy in expressing his optimism for the veteran.

“It’s very evident that there’s still a lot left with him,” he said. “In the two outings that he’s had for us, still a lot of life in the arm, the ability to make pitches. It’s all there.”

The Rockies play 16 of their final 17 games before the All-Star break against NL West foes, a crucial stretch if they hope to contend for the division crown.

“It would be great if we could catch up a couple of games before the break,” Oswalt said. “I feel like if we can stay within two or three, (we can) make a run at it the last two months.”

Lackey struck out a season-high 12 over seven strong innings and Daniel Nava drove in two runs for Boston. Shane Victorino had three hits and Dustin Pedroia added two for the Red Sox.

Cuddyer extended his hitting streak to 23 games, matching Dante Bichette’s club-record set in 1995.

“Nothing really that he does surprises me,” Weiss said. “He does everything right and it’s good to see him playing like he is.”

Lackey (5-5) gave up two runs and eight hits without walking a batter. After missing all of last season rehabbing from elbow ligament-replacement surgery, he struck out nine over the first four innings – getting three each in the first, second and fourth – while allowing Wilin Rosario’s first-inning RBI single.

New Boston closer Koji Uehara worked a perfect ninth for his second save.

The Red Sox wasted little time jumping to a 3-1 lead against Oswalt in the first. Jacoby Ellsbury had a leadoff double and scored on Victorino’s single to right. David Ortiz followed with his 499th career double, a drive high off the Green Monster that scored Victorino. Nava then had an RBI single when the ball bounced off the second-base bag and into short left just as shortstop Josh Rutledge was attempting to make a play on it.

Boston increased it to 5-1 in the third on Mike Napoli’s bases-loaded RBI single. Nava followed with a sacrifice fly before Oswalt got the next two outs to strand runners on second and third.

In the sixth, the Rockies cut it to 5-2 on Cuddyer’s leadoff homer off a billboard above the Monster seats. They had runners on first and third with one out before Lackey struck out Tyler Colvin and got Yorvit Torrealba on a liner to center.

In the eighth, Cuddyer hit a different sign above the left-field seats leading off against Junichi Tazawa.

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