<
>

Lackey's lackeys: Angels pitcher one-hits A's

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- When John Lackey went to three-ball
counts on his first two batters, he had no idea it would be such a
special night.

He quickly found his footing on the mound as well as his
dominant fastball.

Lackey retired 27 straight batters after allowing a leadoff
double, winning his third straight start by pitching the Los
Angeles Angels to a 3-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on
Friday night.

"I knew I was pitching well, but I wasn't aware that nobody got
on base until after the game," said Lackey, who had to adjust his
footing to keep from slipping. "I knew I hadn't been in the
stretch for a while."

Lackey (7-5) matched his career high with 10 strikeouts and
threw a one-hitter to outpitch All-Star Barry Zito. It was the
right-hander's fifth career complete game and fourth shutout, his
first clean slate since a 1-0 win over Tampa Bay on May 7, 2004.

"John was as locked in as we've seen him," Angels manager Mike
Scioscia said. "For him to put down 27 in a row after a leadoff
double in a game you know is going to be low scoring with Barry
Zito on the mound, is a great effort."

Robb Quinlan hit a two-run homer and Chone Figgins added a solo
shot for the Angels, who matched their season best with four home
runs in a 7-5 loss Thursday night.

Los Angeles shortstop Orlando Cabrera went 0-for-4, ending his
streak of reaching base safely in 63 consecutive games -- the
longest run in the majors since at least 1960. Ted Williams holds
the record with 84 straight games in 1949.

After Mark Kotsay doubled to start the bottom of the first
inning, Lackey recorded 27 consecutive outs to finish the game in 2
hours, 1 minute. Not since the Dodgers' Jerry Reuss on June 11,
1982, against Cincinnati, had a pitcher retired 27 in a row
following a leadoff hit.

"When he started retiring guys in the seventh inning, we
realized we didn't have any baserunners," Kotsay said. "He
retired 27 in a row with guys giving away at-bats."

Zito lost his third straight start for his longest losing streak
since dropping five in a row from Sept. 22, 2004, to April 25,
2005.

Booed when announced before the game, Lackey faced the A's for
the first time since May 2, when Oakland catcher Jason Kendall
charged the pitcher after Lackey threw inside and yelled at him.
Both players were ejected and Kendall was suspended four games.

Lackey, who combined on a five-hit shutout in a 4-0 win at
Dodger Stadium last Sunday, worked ahead in the count all game and
matched his strikeout high for the second consecutive outing.

In an efficient, 109-pitch performance, Lackey did not walk a
batter threw a first-pitch strike to 21 of his last 23 batters,
extending his scoreless streak to 17 2/3 innings.

"Lackey had a career night," said Zito, who allowed three runs
and six hits in eight innings, striking out four and walking one.
"He was as dominant as he's ever been. You can't fight that."

Lackey would actually rank winning Game 7 of the 2002 World
Series against the San Francisco Giants higher than his latest gem,
but he was happy nonetheless.

"That's the first time I've seen anything like that," Angels
catcher Mike Napoli said. "You could tell he was a little pumped
up, especially the first inning."

After Vladimir Guerrero led off the second with a single,
Quinlan connected for his fifth home run with a shot to
left-center. That matched his career high, also accomplished the
past two seasons.

Figgins homered with two outs in the fifth for a 3-0 lead.

The first-place A's won Thursday night's series opener on Frank
Thomas' fourth career game-ending homer to snap the Angels'
season-best five-game winning streak. Oakland leads the season
series with Los Angeles 4-3 and the teams play seven times in the
final 10 games of the regular season.

Zito (8-6) gave up two home runs in a game for the second time
this season in his final tuneup before heading to Pittsburgh for
Tuesday's All-Star game. He made his 19th start of the year, tied
for most in the American League.

The left-hander, likely in his final season with the A's, is
winless in his last four starts. His losing streak comes after he
won six straight decisions. In Zito's six losses, the A's scored
only three total runs while he was pitching.

Game notes
The A's were one-hit for the third time this year -- also
May 21 by San Francisco's Matt Cain and by Colorado on June 20. The
only other time Oakland has been held to one or zero hits three
times in one season was 1979. ... Quinlan also homered Wednesday in
Seattle. ... Angels 3B Maicer Izturis was held out of the starting
lineup to rest his tight hamstring, but came in as a defensive
replacement. ... Tim Salmon got the start at DH for the Angels
despite a .125 (5-for-40) career batting average against Zito.
Salmon is in an 0-for-11 stretch. ... Zito is 12-8 in 26 career
starts against the Angels, his second-most wins against one team
behind the 16 victories he has against Texas.