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Lackey fires three shutout frames in Sox's win

Middlebrooks, Napoli each go deep as Boston rallies vs. Team Puerto Rico

Lackey fires three shutout frames in Sox's win play video for Lackey fires three shutout frames in Sox's win

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Will Middlebrooks and Mike Napoli both hit bombs over the Green Monster to back a strong pitching performance by John Lackey, lifting the Red Sox to a 4-3 victory in an exhibition against Team Puerto Rico's World Baseball Classic entry on Tuesday night at JetBlue Park.

Lackey fired three shutout innings, giving up three hits and no walks while striking out two. The righty threw 45 pitches, 31 for strikes, as he made his third start back since Tommy John surgery.

"I felt really good tonight," said Lackey. "It was a really good day in the process. I felt like my arm strength's getting better. It feels like it's getting better each time out."

Napoli, who saw Lackey at his best when they were teammates with the Angels, is happy to see his former batterymate healthy again.

"He looked great tonight," Napoli said. "His arm looked free. He was doing what he wanted with the ball. It was a good step for him. He's going to be a big part of what goes on here. To have him healthy is going to be huge -- good for us."

Middlebrooks put the Red Sox on the board in the bottom of the second, belting a hanging curveball from Nelson Figueroa over the wall in left-center.

Once Lackey exited, Team Puerto Rico put three runs on the board against righty Clayton Mortensen in the fourth.

In the bottom of the fourth, Napoli unloaded for a towering shot over the Green Monster, his second homer in three days.

Figueroa went three innings for Puerto Rico, giving up just one run and two hits.

Former Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles, who was traded to Toronto for manager John Farrell and subsequently dealt to the Indians, had two hits for Puerto Rico. Carlos Beltran added a hit and scored a run.

Up next: Ace Jon Lester will take the ball for Wednesday afternoon's 1:35 p.m. ET home game against the Pirates. Prospects Rubby De La Rosa and Steven Wright are on the docket to pitch, as is setup man Junichi Tazawa.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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