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 Wednesday night and the Boston Red Sox sent the Los Angeles Angels to their sixth straight loss, 3-1.

“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. It’s all business out there. We can be friends off the field.”

It was Boston’s third straight win over the Angels, who have lost the first six games on a 10-game trip. It’s the first time the Angels have opened May at 0-5.

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 tonight.

Lackey played for the organization from 2002-2009 and was the first rookie to win Game 7 of a World Series since 1909, when the Angels beat San Francisco in the 2002 decisive game.

“We know what John does,” said Angels Manager Mike Scioscia. “He does it very well. I don’t think there were any surprises out there.”

Lackey got 12 of 14 outs on grounders as he cruised through the middle innings. He walked two and struck out four, allowing Kendry Morales’ single leading off the second as the only other hit.

“The way we’re going, everyone looks like Cy Young,” Hunter said.

Daniel Bard pitched a perfect eighth before Jonathan Papelbon worked the ninth for his eighth save.

Boston (14-14) reached .500 after losing three straight last weekend against Baltimore.

David Ortiz homered into the Green Monster seats against Joel Pineiro (2-4) to give Boston a 2-0 lead in the fourth.


NOMAR GARCIAPARRA was honored before the game.

“First of all, I can’t thank the Red Sox organization enough for having a day for me and bringing me back home where I belong,” he said, after receiving a pair of Fenway seats — one with his No. 5 on it — and a commemorative watch from the team.

“I have so many friends in that dugout that you cheer for every day,” he said, wearing a Red Sox jersey. “I get to tell a nation and my family, ‘I love you.’ “

Garciaparra, 36, played nine seasons with the Red Sox, winning consecutive batting titles in 1999 and 2000. He was the first right-handed hitter since Joe DiMaggio to accomplish the feat.


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