|L.A. Angels (96-59) «||2||0||0||0||1||3||1||0||0||7||11||0|
Lackey gave up two hits and struck out a career-high 12 in six shutout innings, Mark Teixeira and Sean Rodriguez homered, and the Angels completed a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers with a 7-3 victory Sunday.
Lackey (12-4) walked three and allowed only two runners to reach third as the AL West champs continued their playoff tuneup.
"I feel pretty confident," Lackey said. "When you go out there that way it helps."
In one stretch from the first through the third innings, Lackey struck out seven in a row and fanned nine in the first four innings.
A native of Abilene, Texas, Lackey struggled in his previous road start against the Rangers on July 10. Lackey gave up six runs and 15 hits in 5 2/3 innings of a game that the Angels rallied to win in 11 innings, 11-10.
Lackey had lost his previous two decisions and had a 6.75 ERA in his previous three starts.
This time, he was able to get ahead of hitters with all his pitches.
"I had command with different pitches so they couldn't look for one thing," Lackey said. "That was probably the best breaking ball I've had all year."
Lackey didn't allow a hit over the first 4 1/3 innings until Hank Blalock doubled.
"That was postseason John Lackey," Texas' Marlon Byrd said. "He was in and out, stayed down, didn't get up in the zone. They've got great pitching. We got swept. We got beat by a better team."
Lackey's final regular-season start is Friday night at home against Texas, putting him on schedule to open the playoffs.
"We've got some things to look at next week." Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We'll announce our rotation later. Today was good. It got him stretched out. We might peel him back a little bit in his next start, but we want to get the guys feeling good going into the playoffs."
The Angels (96-59) have already been assured home field advantage in at least the first round of the playoffs.
Los Angeles, which also has the best record in the majors, has a 3½ game advantage over AL East leader Tampa Bay in pursuit of the league's best mark and home field throughout the playoffs.
The Angels hold a 21½ game lead over the second-place Rangers, who lost their fourth straight. Los Angeles is attempting to become the first AL team since Cleveland in 1999 to take a division by 20 games over its nearest pursuer.
"I've never seen that before, (the gap) between the first- and second-place teams," Byrd said. "They've got the confidence and the swagger."
Rangers starter Scott Feldman (5-8), who allowed six runs and eight hits in six innings, nominated the Angels as the AL's most impressive team.
"They're going to be hard to beat," Feldman said. "They've got speed, power, great defense, great pitching, great bullpen. I'd say they're the most complete team that I've seen."
Teixeira's two-run shot in the first was his 12th for the Angels and 33rd of the season. Teixeira played for the Rangers in 2003-07.
Garret Anderson's RBI single in the fifth stretched the Angels' lead to 3-0, and Rodriguez's three-run shot in the sixth made it 6-0.
Vladimir Guerrero's RBI double in the seventh extended Los Angeles' advantage to 7-0.
|John Lackey whiffs a career-high 12 batters while shutting out the Rangers through six innings. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|Chone Figgins, 3B||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.275|
|Bobby Wilson, C||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||1.000|
|Garret Anderson, LF||3||1||2||1||0||0||0||.298|
|Kendry Morales, RF||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.260|
|Mark Teixeira, 1B||3||1||1||2||0||0||2||.304|
|Matt Brown, 3B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.067|
|Vladimir Guerrero, DH||4||0||1||1||0||1||1||.299|
|Freddy Sandoval, PR-DH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250|
|Gary Matthews Jr., CF||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.239|
|Mike Napoli, C||3||1||2||0||0||1||0||.241|
|a- Robb Quinlan, PH-1B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.258|
|Brandon Wood, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.201|
|Sean Rodriguez, 2B||3||1||2||3||0||0||1||.199|
|Reggie Willits, RF-LF||4||1||1||0||0||0||2||.175|
|a-flied out for Napoli in the 8th|
|2B - Vladimir Guerrero (31, Gordon)|
|HR - Mark Teixeira (32, Feldman), Sean Rodriguez (3, Feldman)|
|RBI - Garret Anderson (84), Mark Teixeira 2 (119), Vladimir Guerrero (85), Sean Rodriguez 3 (8)|
|2-OUT RBI - Garret Anderson (31), Vladimir Guerrero (26), Sean Rodriguez 3 (4)|
|CS - Sean Rodriguez (1, 3rd base by Feldman/Teagarden)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|John Lackey (W,12-4)||6||2||0||0||3||12||0||3.25|
|WP - John Lackey (4)|
|Pitches-Strikes - John Lackey 110-69, Jose Arredondo 22-15, Jason Bulger 21-14|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Lackey 1-5, Jose Arredondo 4-1|
|Batters Faced - John Lackey 23, Jose Arredondo 7, Jason Bulger 6|
|Ramon Vazquez, SS||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||.292|
|German Duran, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.217|
|Josh Hamilton, CF||3||0||0||0||1||2||3||.306|
|Brandon Boggs, CF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.229|
|Milton Bradley, DH||3||1||1||0||1||2||1||.316|
|Marlon Byrd, LF||4||1||1||0||0||1||3||.298|
|Hank Blalock, 1B||4||1||2||3||0||1||0||.275|
|Nelson Cruz, RF||4||0||0||0||0||4||1||.315|
|Chris Davis, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.276|
|Taylor Teagarden, C||4||0||2||0||0||2||0||.366|
|2B - Marlon Byrd (28, Bulger), Hank Blalock (16, Lackey), Taylor Teagarden (5, Arredondo)|
|HR - Hank Blalock (8, Bulger)|
|RBI - Hank Blalock 3 (29)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Littleton-Vazquez-Blalock|
|Scott Feldman (L,5-8)||6||8||6||6||0||3||2||5.45|
|HBP - Teixeira (by Scott Feldman), S. Rodriguez (by Scott Feldman)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Scott Feldman 86-51, Brian Gordon 34-21, Wes Littleton 15-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Feldman 6-8, Brian Gordon 1-5, Wes Littleton 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Scott Feldman 27, Brian Gordon 9, Wes Littleton 3|
|Attendance - 28390|
|Game Time - 2:34|
|Temperature - 85|
|Umpires - Home - Brian O'Nora, First Base - Paul Nauert, Second Base - Jerry Crawford, Third Base - Tom Hallion|