Four Real? Rox rock Sox 9-24-13

John Lackey allowed three home runs and took the loss as Colorado
beat the Red Sox 8-3 Tuesday night at Coors Field (AP photo)

Jan-Christian Sorensen Contributing Writer

Blame this loss squarely on the air up there.

The Colorado Rockies hit three homers en route to an 8-3 victory over the visiting Red Sox on Tuesday night in the opener of a two-game set at Coors Field.

The loss dropped the Red Sox to 95-63 on the year and 13-6 in interleague play.

Boston came into the game boasting a .303 batting average and a 2.13 ERA versus the National League in 2013, but the offence was silent and both starter John Lackey and the bullpen got tagged early and often in this one as the Rox out-hit the Sox 11-7.

Lackey again received little in the way of run support and gave up four runs on six hits while walking one and striking out five in six innings to take the loss and fall to 10-13. Drake Britton faced only one batter and was charged with another run and Brandon Workman allowed Colorado a three-spot in only a third of an inning of relief.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia went 1 for 4 at the plate and drove in two with a homer in the ninth and the Sox scored another run on an error, but that was all the offence Boston could muster.

For the Rockies, Charlie Blackmon, Troy Tulowitzki and Corey Dickerson all hit solo home runs, while DJ LaMahiue and Michael Cuddyer collected two RBI apiece.

Fortunately for the Sox — who already claimed the American League East Crown but are now vying for the best overall record in the Junior Circuit in an effort to lock down home-field advantage in the playoffs — the Oakland Athletics were denied their 95th win of the season, falling 3-0 to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Tuesday to remain one game behind Boston. Oakland sits at 94-64 while the Detroit Tigers are also in the mix, beating Minnesota 4-2 on Tuesday to improve to 92-66.

The loss in Colorado means the Sox — who only have four games left to play before the end of the regular season on Sunday — won't reach the 100-win mark in 2013.

Some good news for the Red Sox despite the loss — center fielder and speedster Jacoby Ellsbury is expected to be back in the Boston lineup Wednesday after sitting out the past two weeks with a compression fracture in his right foot.

Here are the four at-bats that changed the game:

1) Charles In Charge: Charlie Blackmon got the Rockies out to an early 1-0 lead in the first when he took a John Lackey four-seamer for a ride out to the right-field stands for a solo homer and his sixth round-tripper of the year.

2) Highway To Helton: Tood Helton, who will hang up his cleats at the end of the year after a 17-year career in Colorado, singled in Michael Cuddyer on a line drive to left in the first to stake the home team to a 2-0 lead.

3) Fuelo for Tulo: In the third, Troy Tulowitzki stroked a solo jack off Lackey to center to notch his 25th homer of the year and put Colorado up 3-0.

4) LeMahieu’s On First?: In the seventh with the Rockies up 4-1, DJ LeMahieu singled to center off Brandon Workman to drive in Jordan Pacheco and Josh Rutledge and give Colorado a 6-1 advantage. 

The Red Sox turn to Jake Peavy (3-1, 3.68 ERA) in the final game of the short series tomorrow, which is set to begin at 8:40 p.m. EST. Peavy will square off against Jhoulys Chacin, who has put together a 14-9 record with a 3.21 in 2013 for the Rockies.

Twitter: @jan_doh