ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — John Lackey's 2.80 ERA is his best through first 15 starts since 2007 when he was with the Los Angeles Angels.
He just couldn't beat his old team and former protege Jered Weaver.
Lackey's three-game winning streak ended on Sunday night when the Boston Red Sox lost 3-0 against Weaver and the Angels. Lackey (6-6) struck out nine in seven innings and was charged with two runs and five hits.
The AL East-leading Red Sox lost their second straight after winning nine of 10.
"It's probably the best first half I've had," said Lackey, who was 3-0 with a 2.17 ERA over his previous four starts.
He impressed his former manager Mike Scioscia.
"I don't know if I've ever seen John Lackey have better stuff," he said.
Lackey has given up three runs or less in 13 of 15 starts this season. His ERA ranks seventh in the AL, and he's walked just five batters over his last seven starts.
"He was powerful and held his stuff throughout the seven innings of work, a lot of strikes," Boston manager John Farrell said. "John's pitching as well as he has I think at any point in time in his career — and that's not to shortchange anything he did early on. But he's in a very good place right now."
The Red Sox got back-to-back hits by Jacoby Ellsbury and Daniel Nava to open the game, but Weaver got out of the jam by retiring Dustin Pedroia on a liner to third, and striking out David Ortiz and former Angel Mike Napoli.
"A lot of times, when you're facing a front-end guy in the rotation, the first inning is your best chance because he's still trying to find out what's working and trying to get into a rhythm," Lackey said.
Weaver (3-4) allowed five hits, struck out six and walked two in 6 2-3 innings.
Ernesto Frieri pitched the ninth to earn his 22nd save in 24 chances.
"They've got some outstanding arms in that bullpen, a lot of power and some swing-and-miss capability in key moments," Farrell said.
Mike Trout, who will start for the AL in next week's All-Star game in New York, put the Angels ahead 1-0 in the first with his 15th homer.
Hank Conger made it 2-0 with two outs in the fifth, with his drive landing in the same right field area as Trout's shot.
Albert Pujols singled with two outs in the sixth and the Red Sox shifted their infield for Josh Hamilton, leaving third base open, which allowed Pujols to take third as Hamilton walked. But Howie Kendrick grounded out to end the threat.
The Red Sox had runners on first and second in the seventh, with Weaver yielding singles to Napoli and Brock Holt before turning it over to Dane De La Rosa, who got Jose Iglesias to fly out to right to end the inning.
The Angels added a run on Mark Trumbo's sacrifice fly in the eighth.
NOTES: Boston was shut out for the fifth time this season. ... Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to a season-high 17 games. ... The teams split their season series 3-3. ... Lackey and Weaver faced off previously on July 27, 2010, in Anaheim, with Lackey earning the win. ... Red Sox OF Shane Victorino wasn't in the lineup a day after leaving the game with a left hamstring injury, the same thing that landed him on the DL last month. ... Red Sox LHP Andrew Miller returned to Boston on Sunday with a walking boot on his left foot. He was to be examined further on Monday.
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