Maybe the Angels should have asked Jed Lowrie to pop over to their clubhouse as a guest speaker Tuesday afternoon.
The Boston second baseman could have talked about clutch hitting and then given a personal demonstration a few hours later when his two-out, two-run double in the seventh inning helped propel the Red Sox to a 4-2 victory at Angel Stadium.
The Angels had tried to revive their slumbering offense with a hitters' meeting before the game, but it was more of the same against former teammate John Lackey and two relievers. The offense failed to score a runner from third base with one out in the third inning and went one for six with runners in scoring position.
There were other indignities on a night the Angels fell a season-high 81/2 games behind Texas in the American League West after their sixth loss in seven games. Third baseman Alberto Callaspo threw to the wrong infielder on a potential force play in the first inning and second baseman Howie Kendrick made an errant throw in the ninth that eluded closer Brian Fuentes, who was late covering first base.
"The guys in that room don't feel real proud about the way we played," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We just shot ourselves a little too much in the foot."
Lowrie's seventh-inning drive over the outstretched glove of left fielder Juan Rivera spoiled an otherwise masterful outing by the Angels' Jered Weaver. The right-hander held Boston scoreless over the first six innings, retiring 15 of 16 batters from the second through the seventh innings.
But No. 9 hitter Darnell McDonald sparked Boston's seventh-inning rally with a two-out walk and went to third on Marco Scutaro's single up the middle that brought Lowrie to the plate. Weaver, who struck out eight in seven innings to reclaim the major league strikeout lead from new teammate Dan Haren with 155, snapped his arms in disgust when Lowrie's drive eluded Rivera to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.
"The ball faded back a little bit and was just out of his reach," Scioscia said, defending the route Rivera took to the ball.
Boston added one insurance run in the eighth and another in the ninth off a pair of Angels relievers, more than offsetting Bobby Abreu's solo homer in the eighth off Lackey.
In his first start against his former team at Angel Stadium, Lackey was booed when the Boston lineup was announced before the game and some more when he jogged to the mound before throwing his first pitch.
"That won't be forgotten, that's for sure," said a visibly irritated Lackey, who gave up seven hits and two runs in 71/3 innings in the same ballpark where he was the winning pitcher in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series. "Nobody wants to get booed like that. The scoreboard talks the loudest."
Weaver, who was mentored by Lackey for parts of four seasons before Lackey signed a five-year, $82.5-million contract with the Red Sox in December, called the reception his former teammate received "very disappointing."
"People don't see what happens behind closed doors," Weaver said. "It was a business and he did what he had to do. … He was a great teammate."
Lackey (10-5) tamed an offense that Scioscia had tried to invigorate with the pregame hitters' meeting that he said involved "a lot of voices."
The Angels' .256 batting average entering Tuesday ranked 10th in the American League, and their .319 on-base percentage ranked 11th, areas that Scioscia said needed improvement.
There was a few more areas of concern by the end of the night, but center fielder Torii Hunter said the standings weren't one of them.
"We have to focus on us," he said. "You start focusing on that, how do we fix what's going on here?"
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