Red Sox

Lackey Finds Groove In 7-0 Win Over Angels

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ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 24: John Lackey #41 of the Boston Red Sox throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on April 24, 2011 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

ANAHEIM, CA – APRIL 24: John Lackey #41 of the Boston Red Sox throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on April 24, 2011 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

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Boston Red Sox

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – John Lackey beat his former team again with eight superb innings, Carl Crawford hit his first home run in a Boston uniform, and the Red Sox completed a pitching-dominated four-game sweep of the Angels on Sunday with a 7-0 victory that extended their winning streak to five.

Lackey (2-2) scattered six hits, struck out six and stranded eight baserunners, becoming the third straight Boston starter to hold the Angels scoreless. The right-hander, who spent his first eight big league seasons with the Halos, is 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts against them.

Adrian Gonzalez had three hits and two RBIs for the Red Sox.

Matt Palmer (1-1) allowed four runs and six hits in five-plus innings.

Lackey, who won Game 7 of the 2002 World Series as a rookie, left Anaheim to sign a five-year, $82.5 million free-agent contract with the Red Sox in December 2009. His solid outing came on the heels of Daisuke Matsuzaka’s eight innings of one-hit ball in Saturday night’s 5-0 victory.

Josh Beckett allowed two runs and just three hits over eight innings in the series opener before the Red Sox won 4-2 in 11. The next night, Jon Lester gave up four hits in six scoreless innings of a 4-3 win, helping Boston’s rotation carve out a minuscule 0.60 ERA in the series. The only blemish was Torii Hunter’s two-run homer off Beckett.

The Angels have lost 13 of 14 games to the Red Sox since sweeping them in the 2009 AL division series.

Crawford, who signed a seven-year, $142 million deal with the Red Sox in December after setting career highs with 19 homers and 90 RBIs last season for Tampa Bay, made it 6-0 in the sixth with a drive to right-center on a full count against Hisanori Takahashi after Kevin Youkilis chased Palmer with a leadoff single. Crawford’s homer came in his 81st at-bat with the Red Sox.

Boston grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first with an RBI double by Gonzalez, an RBI single by David Ortiz and a run-scoring groundout by Mike Cameron. The Sox did not get another hit until the fifth, when Marco Scutaro singled, took third on Jacoby Ellsbury’s hit-and-run single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Dustin Pedroia
to make it 4-0.

A light but steady rain pelted Angel Stadium all morning, but the only part of the infield that was covered was the mound, and the first pitch was delayed 5 minutes. The Angels have been rained out at home only 15 times in franchise history and 10 times since moving down to Anaheim. The last rainout was June 16, 1995, against the Chicago White Sox. The Red Sox have never been rained out in Southern California.

Notes: Lackey, who came in with a 9.82 ERA in his first three starts, had already missed a turn in the rotation when Boston’s scheduled home game against Tampa Bay on April 13 was rained out. … This was Boston’s first four-game sweep at Anaheim since June 1980. The Red Sox swept a four-game set from the Angels last May at Fenway Park, outscoring them 36-16. … Angels 2B Maicer Izturis was a late scratch because of a sore left hamstring. … For the third straight game, Boston’s starting pitcher struck out the side in an inning. Angels batters struck out 34 times in the series. … Angels 3B Alberto Callaspo, whose line-drive single off Matsuzaka’s glove was the only hit the right-hander allowed on Saturday, started a game in the cleanup spot for the first time in the major leagues. He was 1 for 4, including an infield single on a 12-pitch at-bat his first time up. Callaspo has now started in every spot in the batting order at least once during his six-year career. … The next time Youkilis gets hit by a pitch, he will tie Mo Vaughn’s franchise record of 71.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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