BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox traded right-hander John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-hander Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig before Thursday's deadline.
The deal leaves the Red Sox without their top two starters. Both teams announced the move a few hours after the struggling Red Sox said they sent their No. 1 starter, left-hander Jon Lester, to the Oakland Athletics with outfielder Jonny Gomes and cash for slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and a 2015 draft pick.
The Red Sox also sent cash and minor league left-hander Cory Littrell to St. Louis.
Lackey is 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA in the fourth year of a five-year, $82.5 million deal.
Kelly is 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA in seven starts. He has made four starts since being activated from the disabled list on July 11. Craig is batting .237 with seven homers and 44 RBIs.
Lackey has had two strong seasons since being sidelined for all of 2012 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
He was 10-13 with a 3.52 ERA last year when he pitched his second World Series-clinching game, allowing one run in 6 2-3 innings in a 6-1 win over the Cardinals in Game 6. In 2002, he won Game 7 for the Anaheim Angels over the San Francisco Giants, a 4-1 victory in which he gave up one run in five innings.
The Cardinals, in a tight race with the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central, had obtained right-hander Justin Masterson from the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.
"I felt good about our club before we did these deals," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said. "When you look at adding a top of the rotation starter with Lackey, getting somebody like Masterson, who has a history of eating innings, when you look at our rotation prior to this deal, sometimes our third, fourth and fifth starters were having trouble going deep in games, putting a lot of pressure on our bullpen.
"I think this will help alleviate some of that."
Kelly joins a Red Sox rotation with a much different look than the one that began the season.
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