CHICAGO -- Chone Figgins sparked the Los Angeles Angels off to a powerful start Sunday.
Figgins hit a leadoff homer off Orlando Hernandez, and Garret Anderson and Darin Erstad added solo shots in the first to give the Angels a quick three-run lead in a 6-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
"That's my job, to try and get on base," said Figgins, who hit his third career leadoff homer, all this season. "I'm not used to doing things like that."
John Lackey pitched seven shutout innings and the Angels completed the three-game sweep.
Figgins had a sacrifice fly in the second and stole his 50th base in the eighth.
"We just got pitches to hit and we didn't miss them," Figgins said. "When you get pitches to hit, you can't miss them. We put the ball in play hard today."
Vladimir Guerrero hit his 29th homer in the eighth to help the Angels win their fourth consecutive game, all on the road. After Friday's 6-5 win in extra innings, Los Angeles outscored the White Sox 16-6 in the last two games. The Angels came into the game 10th in the AL in home runs.
"You never know when they're going to come," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're a team that's not built around the home run, as you can see statistically. We need to score in other ways. When it comes it gives us a great boost."
Los Angeles scored four runs against a shaky Hernandez, who lasted only two innings. The Angels won the season series 6-4 and increased their lead in the AL West over Oakland to two games.
Lackey (12-5) allowed six hits, walked one and struck out three to win his second decision in a row. He is 6-1 with a 1.94 ERA in 11 starts since the All-Star break.
"Any time you're facing a playoff-caliber team, it's always nice to show well," Lackey said. "You never know when you might meet them next."
Lackey has gone at least five innings in nine consecutive appearances. He had only three strikeouts for the second start in a row after coming into the game averaging 8.9 per nine innings, second-best in the AL.
"You can't ask for a more consistent pitcher," Scioscia said. "If he can maintain the consistency, you can put his name up there with some of the upper-echelon pitchers that are in our league."
Juan Uribe hit his 14th homer off Greg Jones in the ninth to prevent the shutout. Chicago has lost four in a row after a seven-game winning streak and its lead is down to 5½ games over the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central.
"Every day brings something new," White Sox slugger Paul Konerko said. "Obviously right now, what's new is bad. We just need to change that come Tuesday."
Hernandez (9-8) was replaced by rookie Brandon McCarthy to start the third after giving up five hits. In the days leading up to the game, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he would use McCarthy, 2-0 in two starts since being recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on Aug. 30, to spell Hernandez if he struggled.
Guillen had good reason to worry. Hernandez gave up three homers in a game for the second time in three starts and has lost seven of nine decisions since starting the season 7-1. Guillen thinks Hernandez might have been distracted by the planning.
"We talked about this all week and I felt like I let Duque down," Guillen said. "I'm not trying to hurt my pitcher's feelings but we had a plan before the game starts. Duque didn't throw the ball the way we like him to throw the ball. Most of the balls that got hit were hit hard. We thought he was going to give me four, five, six innings to get McCarthy ready to go. Our plans didn't work."
Hernandez asked Guillen to leave him in, but with a four-run deficit, Guillen didn't feel he had much of a choice.
"I don't say nothing, it's not my decision," Hernandez said. "It's a decision the manager has to make."
McCarthy's changeup-fastball repertoire kept the Angels off-balance for most of his first relief appearance this season. He allowed two runs and six hits, striking out eight in 5 2/3 innings.
"I don't look at it as I'm backing him up," McCarthy said. "I look at it as I'm in the bullpen and I can go in for anybody basically and they could throw people ahead of me or whatever. I just throw basically when told to."
He had thrown 17 2/3 scoreless innings since his recall before allowing Casey Kotchman's sacrifice fly in the sixth. He gave up another run in the eighth on Guerrero's homer.
White Sox CF Aaron Rowand had two great catches, taking away a hit from Guerrero at the top of the wall in left-center in the first and making a running shoestring catch of Anderson in the second. ... Figgins has a 10-game hitting streak. He is the first Angel to get 50 steals since Luis Polonia stole 55 in 1993. ... Anderson homered for the second consecutive game after going more than a month without hitting one. He now has 222 home runs with the team, tying him for second on the Angels' all-time list with Brian Downing. ... McCarthy was 0-1 with a 8.14 ERA in five starts earlier in the year when El Duque went on the DL. ... Erstad improved his lifetime average against Chicago to .343. ... Guillen said he wasn't sure if he will go with this arrangement for Hernandez's next start. Chicago has an off-day Monday before starting six consecutive games at Kansas City and Minnesota.