LOS ANGELES — As John Lackey walked off the mound in the eighth inning on Friday night, he pounded his right fist into his glove and shouted at the night sky above Dodger Stadium.
Lackey had pitched one of the best games of the season for the Red Sox and it wasn’t close to good enough.
Ricky Nolasco and Kenley Jansen combined on a two-hitter as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Red Sox, 2-0, before a crowd of 50,240.
The Sox sent only 29 batters to the plate in a game that lasted 2 hours 7 minutes. Only once did a Sox runner advance beyond first base.
The Red Sox have lost six of their last nine games and nine of their last 14. They have not won consecutive games since Aug. 6-7 and are now percentage points behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East.
The Dodgers are 29-5 since the All-Star break and have won 46 of their last 56 games.
Lackey allowed three hits and struck out six without a walk. But two of the hits came in the fourth inning, a single by Carl Crawford and a two-out, two-strike home run by Hanley Ramirez.
“I thought he had very good stuff. He had good location for the most part. Ramirez hit a decent pitch,” Sox manager John Farrell said.
Lackey retired the final eight Dodgers in order and needed only 97 pitches to navigate the eight innings. But it was the fourth time this season that Lackey took a loss despite going at least six innings and giving up two or fewer runs.
The Red Sox have been shut out 10 times this season, five times in games Lackey started.
“It’s frustrating definitely when one pitch can decide a game,” Lackey said.
Lackey retired the first nine Dodgers in order on 28 pitches and only one ball was hit hard.
The Dodgers put a runner on base to start the fourth inning when Crawford singled to right field after fouling off two two-strike pitches.
Lackey, pitching out of the stretch for the first time, got rookie sensation Yasiel Puig to pop to second base and Adrian Gonzalez on a line drive to right field that Shane Victorino ran down.
With Ramirez up, Crawford stole second base on a cut fastball that bounced past catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The next pitch, a 1-and-2 fastball left over the middle of the plate, was lined over the fence in center.
It was the 13th home run of the season for Ramirez, a former Red Sox prospect.
Lackey retired the next five batters before Crawford singled again with one out in the sixth inning. Crawford, who on Thursday said he wanted to beat the Red Sox “bad,” then stole his second base of the night.
It was only the second time all season (and first since April 6) that Crawford stole two bases in the same game. But he was stranded when Gonzalez flied to left field.
Lackey didn’t allow another base runner. He is 8-11 despite a 3.17 ERA. He could easily have 14 or 15 wins.
“I want to win the game, man. I didn’t come here for ERA. I came here to try and win a championship,” Lackey said.
It appeared the Red Sox caught a significant break in the pitching matchups for their weekend series. Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, the two best starters in the Dodgers rotation, pitched against the Miami Marlins earlier this week and would miss the Sox.
Nolasco faced the Red Sox twice last season when he was with the Miami Marlins and was hit hard, giving up 12 earned runs on 14 hits over 9⅓ innings.
But Nolasco (10-9) dominated on Friday. He allowed two hits, struck out six without a walk, and hit one. He threw 101 pitches, 66 for strikes.
“From a righthander, that’s as good a start as we’ve seen against us,” Farrell said.
Outside of a single by Dustin Pedroia in the first inning, Nolasco retired 13 of the first 14 batters he faced.
The Sox got something going with one out in the fifth inning when Daniel Nava was hit by a pitch and Stephen Drew singled sharply to right field.
Nava has been hit 14 times this season, tied for the American League lead.
Will Middlebrooks, a hot hitter since his recall from Triple A Pawtucket, was jammed by a fastball and grounded to third base. Juan Uribe started a double play that ended the inning.
“I hit it hard but right at him,” Middlebrooks said. “I was sitting on that pitch, too. I thought I could get it down the line and score a couple of runs. That was the only pitch I saw all night I could hit.”
The Sox went in order from there. The hardest-hit ball came with one out in the seventh when David Ortiz hammered a fastball to center. But Andre Ethier ran it down and Ortiz stood on the first base line with his hands on his hips.
Drew’s bid for a single in the eighth inning ended when second baseman Mark Ellis made a nice backhanded play.
Jansen finished the Red Sox off for his 22d save. The final 13 Sox went in order.