BOSTON – John Lackey focused on the opposing hitters, not their uniforms.
Facing his former team for the first time, Lackey pitched two-hit ball for seven innings and the Boston Red Sox sent the Los Angeles Angels to their sixth straight loss, 3-1, Wednesday night.
“Honestly, it was different facing the jersey, but there’s not a whole lot of guys in the lineup that I played with for an extended period of time,” Lackey said.
“They know how I am between the lines,” he said. “It’s all business out there. We can be friends off the field.”
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It was Boston’s third straight win over the Angels, who have lost the first six games on a 10-game road trip. It’s the first time the Angels have opened May at 0-5 in team history.
Lackey (3-1) left the Angels in the offseason and signed an $82.5 million, five-year contract with Boston. He posted the Angels’ highest winning percentage in team history, at 102-71.
“Early on he was definitely throwing a lot harder than I remember,” Angels center fielder Torii Hunter said. “He was a little pumped up, of course. He knew where the strike zone was and he stayed right there. That’s what Lackey does best.”
Adrian Beltre homered and drove in two runs for the Red Sox. Brandon Wood hit a solo homer off Lackey.
The Red Sox can complete the four-game sweep when Daisuke Matsuzaka faces Scott Kazmir today.
Lackey played for the Angels organization from 2002-2009 and was the first rookie to win Game 7 of a World Series since 1909, getting the victory when the Angels beat San Francisco in the 2002 decisive game.
“We know what John does,” said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who managed Lackey’s rookie season. “He does it very well. I don’t think there were any surprises out there.”