BOSTON -- John Lackey's return to Fenway Park went according to plan Sunday afternoon, when he was activated from the 15-day disabled list to pick up his first win since April 24.
Lackey wiped off the dust and tossed 93 pitches over 5 2/3 innings, while the Red Sox's offense continued to have success off Oakland's pitching staff. The 6-3 win capped off a three-game sweep of the A's in which Boston scored 23 runs.
"I felt pretty good," Lackey said. "My slider/cutter was a little harder, a little sharper today than it has been. I was happy with that. That was the biggest thing moving forward."
Making his first start since May 11 after missing nearly a month with a strained right elbow, Lackey allowed just three hits. He occasionally lost control, hitting three batters and allowing a home run to deep center field off the bat of Kevin Kouzmanoff, but Lackey held the A's to three runs, walking two and striking out two.
"You can tell he was a little rusty, but for the most part, his cutter was back to where I remember it being," said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "He looked healthy. He looked rested. He looked good. From the first pitch in the bullpen, he looked harder."
With the left-handed Brett Anderson on the mound for the A's, manager Terry Francona wasn't expecting a whole lot of offense. Anderson shut out the Red Sox earlier this season and was 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 39 innings against them in his career.
But Boston's left-handed hitters had a field day off the 23-year-old, as Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez each homered and combined for five RBIs, while David Ortiz had three more hits to raise his season average to .325.
After Ortiz and Jed Lowrie singled to lead off the second inning, Crawford smacked a low fastball into Boston's bullpen for his fifth homer of the season, but first at Fenway Park. He had been hitting .127 with one home run in 71 at-bats against lefties entering the game.
"I'm just trying to focus a little bit harder," said Crawford, who had back-to-back three-RBI games for just the second time in his career. "I know I've been struggling against lefties this year, so I'm trying to do everything I can to have better at-bats against them."
Ortiz had struggled against southpaws to the point where he was losing at-bats last season, but he's reversed the trend this year. He extended his hitting streak to 10 games, collecting three hits off a left-hander for just the ninth time in his career.
"Right now, David, that's as a good a swing as you're going to see," Francona said. "Against the lefties, he's staying balanced and driving the ball to left field and left-center. That really helps us. When he's hitting in the middle of the order and he's swinging like that against left-handers, that's really going to help us."
Saltalamacchia got another rally started in the fourth inning with his second line-drive single of the game, and Gonzalez hit his 12th home run of the season to extend Boston's lead. Gonzalez's 50 RBIs lead the Major Leagues, and through 59 games, he's just one away from the halfway mark of his season total (101) from a year ago.
Saltalamacchia was 3-for-4, including a triple in the eighth inning, his fist of the season and his second of his career, when he knocked one into the outfield triangle past a stretched out Coco Crisp.
The Red Sox shelled Anderson for five runs over nine hits, as Anderson took his second straight loss and has seen his ERA rise from 2.84 to 4.00.
"My stuff was pretty bad," Anderson said. "I'll go back and look at it mechanically and hopefully make an adjustment, get my breaking ball back to where it has been and where I want it to be."
Matt Albers, Tommy Hottovy, Dan Wheeler and Daniel Bard pitched 3 1/3 combined scoreless innings in relief to rest a taxed bullpen that pitched eight inning on Saturday night.
Pitching for the third consecutive day, Bard tossed a scoreless ninth to earn his first save.
"I told [Francona] I was good to go," said Bard, who has thrown 30 1/3 innings this season. "I knew we were kind of beat up out there, so I was probably feeling better than most of the guys we had out there. I know I always get better, the more days I pitch in a row."
Crawford was hit by an Anderson pitch on his right elbow in the third inning, but the left fielder shook it off and remained in the game. Both sides were issued warnings, but there were no ejections.
"I don't know if it was intentional," Crawford said. "I know we watch his video, and he doesn't throw inside much. That's all I can say about that."
Lackey, who hit Conor Jackson in the first inning, drilled Kurt Suzuki in the fourth inning and then Jackson again in the sixth.
"Punishment, that kind of stuff, is never going to outweigh taking care of a teammate," said Lackey, who lowered his ERA to 7.60 Sunday. "You want those guys to feel comfortable in there hitting and stuff, but that's part of the game."
Jason Mastrodonato is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.