Red Sox 7, Angels 0

The Angels don’t play Jimmy Dean’s classic song ”Big Bad John”
on the public address system anymore when John Lackey gets the
third out of an inning.

They didn’t need to on Sunday. The crowd of 35,107 was more than
aware of how much the lanky Texan enjoys pitching in his former
home ballpark – and how much they miss him around these parts.

Lackey beat his former team again with eight superb innings,
Carl Crawford hit his first home run in a Boston uniform, and the
Red Sox completed a pitching-dominated four-game sweep of Los
Angeles with a 7-0 victory that extended their winning streak to
five.

”You’re facing tough pitching every night, and you have to beat
the good pitchers,” manager Mike Scioscia said. ”This isn’t about
just beating pitchers that you match up well against. It’s about
finding ways to beat the guys that are pitching well, and we
haven’t been doing that.

”It’s tough to define roles in the lineup when guys aren’t
playing up to their potential. We’re not there yet. A lot of guys
are struggling, and we need to reverse that,” he said.

One thing Scioscia tried Sunday was putting third baseman
Alberto Callaspo in the cleanup spot for the first time in his
six-year career. He was 1 for 4, including an infield single on a
12-pitch at-bat his first time up.

”Right now, one of the few guys who have been attacking the
ball and hitting it hard is Alberto. And although he’s not a
prototypical cleanup hitter, he’s great with guys in scoring
position,” Scioscia said.

”He’s not the kind of guy who’s going to break up a game with a
home run, but he certainly can drive the ball when he gets a hold
of one. And we need to get a little bit of continuity, so we put
him in there. Obviously, Torii (Hunter) has to get it going.”

Lackey (2-2) scattered six hits, struck out six and stranded
eight baserunners, becoming the third straight Boston starter to
hold the Angels scoreless. The right-hander’s solid outing came on
the heels of Daisuke Matsuzaka’s eight innings of one-hit ball in
Saturday night’s 5-0 victory.

Josh Beckett allowed two runs and just three hits over eight
innings in the series opener before the Red Sox won 4-2 in 11. The
next night, Jon Lester gave up four hits in six scoreless innings
of a 4-3 win, helping Boston’s rotation carve out a minuscule 0.60
ERA in the series. The only blemish was Hunter’s two-run homer off
Beckett.

”These guys came in swinging the bats, and the pitching was
unbelievable this series. The pitching was sick,” Hunter said.
”Lackey pounded the strike zone and changed speeds and got the
outs when he needed to. It was as simple as that.”

Lackey, who spent his first eight big league seasons with the
Halos, is 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts against them. He is
51-32 with a 3.93 ERA at Angel Stadium in 114 starts, including a
4-2 victory for the Red Sox last July 27. He left Anaheim to sign a
five-year, $82.5 million free-agent contract with the Red Sox in
December 2009.

”I’ve won a few games in this stadium for sure,” said Lackey,
who won Game 7 of the 2002 World Series in the ballpark as a
rookie. ”This is a great place to pitch, especially with that
ocean air coming through here a little bit. So you’ve got to hit it
pretty good.”

Matt Palmer (1-1) allowed four runs and six hits in five-plus
innings. Adrian Gonzalez had three hits and two RBIs for the Red
Sox, who have won 13 of 14 games against the Angels since Los
Angeles swept them in the 2009 AL division series.

Crawford, who signed a seven-year, $142 million deal with the
Red Sox in December after setting career highs with 19 homers and
90 RBIs last season for Tampa Bay, made it 6-0 in the sixth with a
drive to right-center on a full count against Hisanori Takahashi
after Kevin Youkilis chased Palmer with a leadoff single.
Crawford’s homer came in his 81st at-bat with the Red Sox.

A light but steady rain pelted Angel Stadium all morning, but
the only part of the infield that was covered was the mound, and
the first pitch was delayed 5 minutes. The Angels have been rained
out at home only 15 times in franchise history and 10 times since
moving down to Anaheim. The last rainout was June 16, 1995, against
the Chicago White Sox.

NOTES: This was Boston’s first four-game sweep at Anaheim since
June 1980. The Red Sox swept a four-game set from the Angels last
May at Fenway Park, outscoring them 36-16. … Angels 2B Maicer
Izturis was a late scratch because of a sore left hamstring. …
For the third straight game, Boston’s starting pitcher struck out
the side in an inning. Angels batters struck out 34 times in the
series. … Callaspo, whose line-drive single off Matsuzaka’s glove
was the only hit the right-hander allowed on Saturday, has now
started in every spot in the batting order at least once during his
six-year career.