Lackey shows stuff despite loss

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Boston Red Sox right-hander John Lackey and Los Angeles Angels ace Jered Weaver locked up in the pitchers' duel many expected Sunday evening.

The difference turned out to be two swings of the bat.

Mike Trout and Hank Conger hit solo home runs off Lackey and that was all the support Weaver & Co. would need as Los Angeles took the rubber game of the three-game series with a 3-0 victory at Angel Stadium.

Trout blasted his 15th homer of the season with one out in the first and Conger clubbed his sixth with two outs in the fifth. The Angels added an insurance run in the eighth when Erick Aybar tripled off reliever Junichi Tazawa and came home on Mark Trumbo’s sacrifice fly.

Lackey (6-6, 2.80 ERA) went seven innings, allowing five hits and the two runs while striking out nine and walking one. It was the fifth straight outing he lasted at least seven innings while allowing two earned runs or fewer.

"I don't know if I've ever seen John Lackey have better stuff," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, for whom Lackey played before signing with Boston in 2010. "Those two guys went pitch-for-pitch. It's the best stuff Jered's had all season."

"John's pitching as well as any point in time in his career," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He's in a very good place right now."

Lackey, too, felt good about his outing, except for the outcome.

"Felt pretty good about it," Lackey said. "One of the those deals where Weave pitched really good. It's tough."

The Red Sox had their best chance to score in the first inning after Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a double that was misplayed by Angels left fielder J.B. Shuck, and Daniel Nava followed with a single to right, putting runners on the corners with no outs.

Dustin Pedroia then hit a liner that was snared by third baseman Alberto Callaspo and Weaver seemed to settle in from that point, striking out David Ortiz and Mike Napoli to escape the jam.

Boston also put its leadoff batter on base in the fifth, seventh and ninth innings, but couldn’t spark a rally. Weaver threw 45 pitches through the first two innings, but lasted 6 2/3 innings before getting lifted with runners on first and second. Dane De La Rosa came on and got Jose Iglesias to fly out to right.

HELLO HOLT: Brock Holt started for the second straight game since he was recalled Saturday from Triple-A Pawtucket. Holt made two sterling backhands at third base to produce outs and his single in the seventh ended the day for Weaver.

Holt wasn’t anywhere near the third-base bag for the most bizarre play of the game, however.

Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols was advancing to second after Josh Hamilton drew a walk with two outs in the sixth. As Lackey received the throw from the catcher, Pujols continued to third as the Red Sox were in a defensive shift for Hamilton, leaving third base unoccupied.

The Red Sox had moved Holt to the other side of second base on the shift and kept Iglesias at his normal shortstop position, but Iglesias was late covering third on Pujols’ brazen move. But Howie Kendrick grounded out to end the threat.