Give John Lackey all the due in the world for the way he pitched yesterday at Fenway Park.

With every sign pointing in favor of the Yankees and CC Sabathia, Lackey delivered the type of start that was good enough to make his many doubters admit they were wrong.

Lackey came up big, and even though he could have delivered a stronger message for the disbelievers, he took the high road.

"I've been around for a while. I've won a few big games in my life," said Lackey, who understood as well as anyone how high the stakes were before yesterday's 10-4 trouncing of the Yankees evened this weekend series.

Lackey allowed three runs on six hits in six innings. And while he fell prey like virtually any other pitcher facing the deep and disciplined Yankees lineup and was out of there after 115 pitches, that effort was more than good enough to steady the Red Sox defense as the offense went to work on Sabathia to the tune of seven runs on nine hits in six frames.