John Lackey, despite sickness, dominates Mariners yet again, Angels win 6-0
SEATTLE (AP)—John Lackey was dominant. He was nasty. He was just plain sick.
Yes, he really was.
Lackey, pitching with a possible case of strep throat severe enough to cause the Angels to form a Plan B in case he couldn’t start, made the Mariners feel ill with his second straight seven-hit shutout against them, helping Los Angeles beat Seattle 6-0 Monday night to increase its lead in the AL West to three games.
“I was feeling weaker as the game went on,” Lackey said through team spokesman Eric Kay, who relayed the comment moments before Lackey shuffled with an ashen face through the clubhouse, tossed a sheet of pills into his locker and headed into the bathroom having joined Boston’s Josh Beckett and Tim Wakefield as the major leagues’ only 16-game winners.
The burly right-hander wasn’t up to facing a line of questioners, but he was certainly up to mowing down a Seattle lineup that had been averaging nearly 5 1/2 runs per game while going 15-8 this month. It was Lackey’s 10th career complete game and seventh shutout.
Garret Anderson supported his ailing teammate with a home run and three RBIs.
Lackey (16-8) struck out five and walked none while using his two-seam fastball more than usual to improve to 3-0 against the Mariners this season. He hasn’t allowed a run in 24 innings against the Mariners and all 18 of Seattle’s hits against Lackey this year have been singles.
And the Mariners are likely to see him one more time, because after this series ends Wednesday, these teams will play four times in Anaheim from Sept. 20-23.
“We need to figure that guy out if we are to get anywhere,” said Miguel Batista, who allowed six runs and a season high-tying 10 hits in six innings.
Seattle lost its third consecutive game but remained two games ahead of the Yankees in the wild-card standings. New York lost 16-0 at Detroit.
“That was an incredible effort by John,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
“We didn’t have a blood-pressure cuff on him or anything like that. But (pitching coach) Mike Butcher was watching him very closely.”
Catcher Jeff Mathis, who also caught Lackey’s seven-hitter in Seattle on July 31, said he didn’t call the game any differently because his pitcher was sick—though he admitted talking to Lackey only through his mask or with his mitt in front of his face.
“With a guy like him, it doesn’t matter. … That’s his mentality,” Mathis said. “He wants the ball when we need a big win.”
Batista (13-10) has allowed 14 runs—all earned—over eight innings in his last two starts.
Mariners manager John McLaren wasn’t around to see much of the game. Third-base umpire Jerry Meals ejected him nine minutes after the first pitch after a disputed, swinging third strike on Ichiro Suzuki.
Plate umpire Gary Darling acknowledged after the game that he signaled Suzuki had foul-tipped the ball that skipped off the dirt into the glove of Mathis to begin the bottom of the first. And Mathis said, “He did foul tip it.”
McLaren then came out to approach Darling to ask for an appeal to Meals. But Darling told the manager the ball never hit the ground.
After a brief and relatively calm discussion, McLaren returned toward the dugout. Seconds later, McLaren and Meals gestured at each other, and then Meals ejected him. McLaren ran to Meals, and nose-to-nose confrontation between the two ensued. The 12th sellout crowd of the season at Safeco Field roared—for the only time all night.
When asked how the third-base umpire got involved with being asked for an appeal, Darling said, “Go ask McLaren,” before abruptly saying “good bye” and turning away.
Anderson sent the second pitch of the second inning from Batista four rows into the right-field bleachers for his 10th home run.
Batista hit No. 9 batter Mathis with a pitch with one out in the third, then allowed a single by Orlando Cabrera. Vladimir Guerrero hit a hard one-hopper that shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt stopped with a dive. But his flip to second base for an inning-ending forceout was a step late to catch the hustling Cabrera. Anderson then used a chopping swing to hit a high, 1-2 fastball down the right-field line for a two-run double.
In the fourth, Gary Matthews Jr. hit a looping liner to center that Suzuki tried to catch on a dive, but the ball rolled away. Suzuki hurried to throw to second base well ahead of Matthews, but Jose Lopez simply placed his glove ahead of the base waiting for Matthews, instead of reaching to tag him. Matthews gyrated away from the glove then stuck his foot onto the base for a gift double.
“The old ‘dead-leg’ trick,” Scioscia said, with admiration.
Matthews became the Angels’ fourth run on a single by Kendry Morales. Another RBI single from Morales and a run-scoring wild pitch by Batista made it 6-0 in the sixth.
RF Jose Guillen, a former Angel who got kicked off the team during his last pennant race, in 2004, went 0 for 4 with a strikeout and a double play to end a 10-game hitting streak. … Seattle is playing its only three home games of a 20-game stretch. These are the only three road dates of a 20-game stretch for the Angels, who have won 13 of their last 17 home games.
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