OAKLAND, Calif. -- John Lackey had gone nine days between starts, a mental and physical break he hopes will be a positive come playoff time despite his latest outing.
The Oakland Athletics have won three in a row for the first time in three months after earning a rare win over the Angels ace in an 8-1 victory Tuesday night that ended the AL West champions' five-game winning streak.
"My arm felt great, movement-wise and velocity-wise," Lackey said, referring to the extra rest. "It definitely helped, physically. I think it will end up helping me in the end."
Ryan Sweeney had four hits, Daric Barton snapped an 0-for-20 stretch with his RBI double in the sixth that chased Lackey, and the A's won three in a row for the first time since a four-game streak from June 13-17.
Oakland has won seven of 10 overall and beat Lackey for the first time in six starts since he lost 3-0 on April 18, 2007.
"We beat a good team and a great pitcher tonight," Jack Hannahan said. "Any time you win a game is huge, especially because our second half we've struggled and it all started after the series with these guys right before the All-Star break. We're trying to get out of it and this is a big win."
Kendry Morales connected for his first home run of the season in the fifth for Los Angeles to break up a scoreless game, but the Angels did little else against Sean Gallagher (2-2). The right-hander struck out six and didn't walk a batter in seven sharp innings, giving up four hits and one run. He matched his career high for innings pitched.
Gallagher also beat the Angels on July 11 with seven strong innings and seven strikeouts in a 9-2 victory.
"This guy has thrown two terrific games against us," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We haven't been able to get comfortable against him. I've heard he has had some control problems, but against us he's been right on the money."
Lackey (11-4) had allowed only one base runner past first through the initial four innings before running into trouble. The right-hander has owned Oakland, too. He is 14-4 with two complete games and a shutout lifetime against the A's, his most wins against any opponent. He came into this start 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA in the 2008 matchups.
"I just wasn't locating well," Lackey said. "I fell into a pattern a little bit. I threw my curveball a little too much."
After Morales' homer to start the fifth, A's No. 9 hitter Hannahan added a solo shot of his own in the bottom half to tie it. Aaron Cunningham doubled one out later and Sweeney followed with an RBI single.
Lackey allowed nine hits for the third consecutive start for Los Angeles, which clinched the AL West on Sept. 10 -- the club's fourth division title in five years. He allowed four runs and struck out four.
"John's one of the best pitchers in the American League. He's dominated us," A's manager Bob Geren said. "It's nice to beat him."
The Angels' relievers weren't any better. Jason Bulger loaded the bases to start the seventh with a walk, a single and another walk. Kurt Suzuki drew a bases-loaded walk and Bulger plunked Travis Buck to bring home another run. Hannahan drew a bases-loaded walk against Darren O'Day as the A's batted around in the inning. Buck drove in another run with a single in the eighth.
Oakland had won two in a row for just the fourth time since the All-Star break, so this little run is something of note considering this young club's up-and-down year.
Shortstop Erick Aybar returned to the Angels lineup and batted leadoff, playing three innings on defense and going 0-for-2 with a strikeout in his first game since leaving in the ninth inning Aug. 27 with tightness in his left hamstring. Scioscia likely will play Aybar again one of the next two games in Oakland, but not for a full game yet.
Los Angeles slugger Vladimir Guerrero had his injured right knee examined by team orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum, and an MRI showed inflammation. He will likely return to the lineup for Thursday's series finale at the Coliseum.
The A's anticipate 2B Mark Ellis will need surgery on his injured shoulder, though assistant GM David Forst was still waiting to receive a recommendation from Yocum after A's orthopedist Dr. John Frazier already recommended an operation. ... Injured All-Star Justin Duchscherer threw a bullpen session and reported no problems with his strained hip. Geren might put Duchscherer back in the rotation if he feels fine Wednesday. "I feel great," Duchscherer said. "This is the first time in a month I've thrown off the mound and not had pain." ... Brandon Wood replaced Aybar in the fourth. ... Buck, called up from Triple-A Sacramento earlier in the day, stole his first base.