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Lackey three-hits Dodgers over eight-plus as K-Rod, Angels hang on

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Angels got another outstanding pitching performance, and this time they even won.

John Lackey held the Dodgers to three hits for 8 2/3 innings, then Francisco Rodriguez finished off a nervous ninth Sunday afternoon to give the Angels a 1-0 victory.

The previous night, Jered Weaver and Jose Arredondo held the Dodgers without a hit, but the Dodgers' unearned run was enough to give them a 1-0 victory in one of baseball's strangest games in recent years.

"Last night was bizarre," Rodriguez said. "Today was a great game."

Lackey (6-1), whose 2008 debut was delayed six weeks by a strained triceps, allowed only five baserunners in a dominant performance. He struck out nine and walked two. The right-hander retired 14 in a row at one juncture.

He said he took the mound, "Thinking I've got to get it done, no matter what."

Avoiding a sweep in the weekend set at Dodger Stadium, the Angels scored their first -- and only -- run of the series on Mike Napoli's RBI single off Derek Lowe in the second inning. Howie Kendrick singled with two outs, Gary Matthews Jr. walked, then Napoli followed with a single to right.

Lackey said he wasn't really thinking then that the one run might hold up, saying, "But it was one of those days. We've got to win any way we can. If you do get a run, you've got to make it stand up."

Dodgers manager Joe Torre gave Lackey credit.

"We've been getting good pitching, but Lackey did such a great job," he said. "Derek did a sensational job for us. We're not doing anything offensively, but I think this was more about Lackey than about us. He's like a surgeon out there."

Rodriguez, who came in with two outs in the ninth and runners on first and second, walked Jeff Kent to load the bases, then got James Loney on a routine grounder to second to earn his major league-leading 32nd save.

"After the job Lackey did, you don't want to go out there and let it get away," Rodriguez said.

Lowe pitched well, holding the Angels to one run on five hits and two walks in his seven innings. He struck out seven.

Lackey was even better, limiting the Dodgers to a walk in the first, a single by Kent in the second, and a single by Juan Pierre in the sixth before giving up a single to Delwyn Young and a walk to Russell Martin in the ninth.

Rodriguez, who has blown just two saves this year, came on and his wild pitch allowed Young to advance to third, with Martin holding at first. After Kent walked, Rodriguez retired Loney.

Pierre left the game in the sixth after injuring his left knee sliding. Angels shortstop Erick Aybar fell on Pierre as he was stealing second. Pierre, who was safe, lay on the dirt writhing for a few moments, finally got to his feet and was limping slightly as he left the field. He will have an MRI on Monday and is day to day.

Young replaced Pierre as a pinch-runner and remained in the game in left.

The Dodgers took the opener 6-0, then won the second game 1-0 without the benefit of a hit. Weaver pitched six hitless innings before being lifted for a pinch-hitter, and Arredondo retired six in a row over the next two innings, but it didn't count as a no-hitter since the Dodgers didn't bat in the ninth.

Lackey, asked after his win what he had been thinking as he watched the game a night earlier, said, "Tough luck for Weave. He was throwing the ball really well."

Game notes
The Angels had won six consecutive road series before coming up the Santa Ana Freeway to face the Dodgers. ... Lowe, who joined the Dodgers in 2004, came into the matchup against Lackey with three wins against the Angels in as many starts against them at Dodger Stadium, with a 1.29 ERA and 25 strikeouts in those contests. Lackey had been just as impressive against the Dodgers in Anaheim, going 4-1 with a 1.45 ERA in six starts against them.