looks to be back in top pitching shape.
Lackey pitched eight solid innings and
provided the offense with two home runs as the
Los Angeles Angels
5-2 on Thursday night.
The right-hander, who had a loss and a no-decision in his last two starts, got the run support he needed this time from Abreu's
14th career multihomer game and his first as an Angel.
He struck out seven and gave up four hits and a walk against the Orioles, who are in last place in the AL East.
The ace breezed through Baltimore's lineup, except for a jam in the fifth, showing the form when he won 19 games in 2007.
''This is the best stuff we've seen him have in a couple of years. This rivals anything we've seen with John,'' Angels manager
''When his fastball command is there, he can quietly roll through a lineup. ... His arm felt good, his delivery felt good
and he was throwing to spots easy with a lot of life on his fastball tonight.''
A fastball he utilized early.
''I was able to get through the first inning without throwing anything but a fastball so that kind of establishes that and
gets you rolling a little bit,'' said Lackey, who missed the first six weeks of the season with a right forearm strain.
He gave up one single through the first four innings before getting into trouble in the fifth. Rookie
tied the game at 1 with an RBI single, but Lackey struck out
with two runners on.
''He was putting it where he wanted it,'' catcher
said. ''To me, it looked like the John of last year when he was going good. He was getting through a lot of innings. It looks
like things are coming around now.''
Both of Abreu's homers were to right field off starter
, who gave up nine hits in seven innings.
homered in the seventh to bring the Orioles within three runs, but they dropped to a dismal 11-24 on the road.
''Lackey had a real good slider. It seemed like when he got two strikes, he expanded the strike zone. We just didn't have
enough tonight,'' Orioles manager Dave Tremblay said.
Guthrie made it through three easy innings before giving up the homer to Abreu in the fourth.
Then the Angels broke things open.
tripled and Napoli walked to put runners at the corners.
drove them in two batters later to make it 2-1 and Abreu cleared the bases with his sixth homer of the season.
''The bad pitch to Abreu on the first home run was a changeup that I left up. I tried to go in with a fastball the second
time and got it in there, but he did a great job on it,'' Guthrie said. ''It really surprised me that he put that much barrel
on the ball and was able to hit it out like that. But he always has a good quality at-bat. He's just a great hitter.''
The Angels are hoping this game gets Abreu going.
''It's great to see the power start to appear because that's something we obviously talked about in our lineups,'' Scioscia
said. ''We need more batter's box offense and slugging percentage and some guys are starting to get into their game and deliver
and it's a big night for Bobby tonight. Hopefully he'll start doing it a little more consistently.''
NOTES: Michael Trout, one of the Angels' first-round draft picks, signed a minor-league contract with the team on Thursday.
Trout, a New Jersey native and the 25th overall selection, took batting practice in front of Scioscia and took in the game
with his family. ... Orioles' 3B
replaced Melvin in the lineup. Mora asked for the night off after the trip to the West Coast.