John Lackey came out of the gate last night and pitched like an ace for three innings.

But by the time he walked off the mound in the middle of the seventh, he had reverted back to the same old Lackey who too often has given up too many hits and too many runs.

The turnaround was as abrupt as it was frustrating.

"I felt really strong. I started off well, my arm felt good, locating well, really established 'in' well on some left-handers," said Lackey, who wound up giving up five runs on eight hits in the Red Sox' 9-6 loss to the Indians.

"Then I made a couple of mistakes later on that cost me. I felt like I had better stuff and felt better than to give up that many runs, for sure."

Lackey began as crisply and impressively as he has at any point in his Red Sox career.

He mowed down the first eight batters he faced, three on strikeouts, with just one fly ball to an outfielder.

But with two outs in the third, a poor throw from right fielder Josh Reddick after a base hit helped lead to the first Indians run, which scored on a double. And in the fourth, he allowed another run on two hits.