John Lackey came within two outs of a no-hitter, pitching the Los Angeles Angels past the Boston Red Sox 6-2 Tuesday night on a big day for the AL West leaders.
Hours after the Angels acquired slugger Mark Teixeira in a trade, Lackey blanked Boston until Dustin Pedroia grounded a sharp single through the left side with one out in the ninth.
Kevin Youkilis followed with a home run over Fenway Park's Green Monster to spoil the shutout bid, but Lackey finished the two-hitter to help the Angels (66-40) improve on what was already the best record in baseball.
The right-hander nearly became the first visiting pitcher in 50 years to toss a no-hitter at Fenway, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Hall of Famer Jim Bunning did it for Detroit on July 20, 1958.
Lackey struck out four and walked two. As he left the field, he received polite applause from the fans who had remained from the sellout crowd.
Red Sox rooters are growing accustomed to great pitching performances. The past two major-league no-hitters were thrown by Boston pitchers at Fenway Park.
Jon Lester's gem in May followed Clay Buchholz's no-hitter last September in his second big-league start.
Buchholz was the losing pitcher Tuesday night.
Lackey allowed just two base runners - on a hit batsman and a walk - in the first six innings.
David Ortiz led off the seventh with a long drive that Vladimir Guerrero caught with a hop just a few steps in front of the short bullpen wall in right. Manny Ramirez followed with a chopper down the third-base line; Chone Figgins' throw pulled first baseman Robb Quinlan off the bag, but since Ramirez was in a brisk jog he was out anyway.
Buchholz gave up five earned runs on six hits and three walks, striking out five in 61/3 innings. He loaded the bases in the third before Figgins singled and Maicer Izturis walked in a run, then Garret Anderson hit a two-run homer in the fourth to make it 4-0.