Angels have allowed three runs in 31 innings

SEATTLE (AP) -- John Lackey doesn't want to make too much out of
his start.

"It's a long season," the Los Angeles Angels' pitcher said.
"I'm not going to evaluate where I am right now. I'm just going to
keep working hard at it and hopefully in the end the results will
be good."

The results were good for Los Angeles in a 5-2 victory over the
Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night. The Angels won their season-high
third straight game and got a two-run homer from 40-year-old Steve

The defending AL West champs lead the division by 2½ games over

Los Angeles shut out Seattle 5-0 on Monday night, and Angels
pitchers have allowed only three runs in their last 31 innings. The
Mariners are hitting only .191 (18-for-94) in the first two games
of the series.

Lackey (3-1) won consecutive starts for the first time this
season, pitching 6 2/3 innings and allowing one run on six hits, a
walk and a wild pitch. The nine strikeouts were one shy of his
career high and the most by an Angels pitcher this season.

"I felt pretty good for the most part tonight," Lackey said.
"I located my fastball pretty well to set up my breaking ball. It
was probably my best fastball-breaking ball this year."

Scot Shields pitched the final 2 1/3 innings to pick up his
second save in three opportunities. Seattle scored a run in the
ninth when pinch-hitter Shin-Soo Choo had an RBI single for his
first major league hit and RBI.

The Mariners have lost four straight, their longest losing
streak of the season. They also dropped to 4-9 at home.

As a rookie for the Angels in 2002, Lackey pitched and won Game
7 of the World Series, 4-1 over San Francisco. But he was only a
combined 24-29 in 2003 and 2004.

The Angels took a 3-0 lead in the first off Gil Meche (2-2) on
Chone Figgins' run-scoring single, Garret Anderson's RBI fielder's
choice and Orlando Cabrera's RBI single. Cabrera's hit broke an
0-for-12 drought.

"That's always a key when the guys give you a lead," Lackey
said. "You want to go out there and put up some zeros and give
your team momentum in the game."

Finley hit his second homer in two nights and sixth of the
season, a two-run shot to right field off Meche, to give the Angels
a 5-1 lead in the eighth. Four of Finley's last five hits have been

Finley is hitting .170 in his first season with the Angels after
spending 12 seasons in the National League. He's batting fifth in
the lineup behind Garret Anderson and Vladimir Guerrero.

"He had a big one tonight and a big one last night," Angels
manager Mike Scioscia said. "We need production from Steve. We
know that. He's an important part of our lineup. You can't really
sit back and count on Vlad and G.A. We need him to get going."

Meche went eight innings, allowing five runs on eight hits, with
five strikeouts.

"The first inning was just a little whacky and the eighth
inning I made a bad pitch," Meche said. "That's how the game

Seattle got its run in the second when Richie Sexon hit a
429-foot homer to center, his seventh of the season.

The Mariners loaded the bases in the fifth, but Lackey struck
out Adrian Beltre to end the threat. Lackey also struck out Ichiro
Suzuki for the second time in the game in the inning. Shields also
struck out Suzuki in the ninth to end the game. Suzuki struck out
three times in a game since last Aug. 28 at Kansas City.

"That was a big one right there," Lackey said of his strikeout
of Beltre. "That's a guy who had a huge year last year who can
hurt you."

Beltre, who led the majors with 48 homers with the Los Angeles
Dodgers last season and then signed a $64 million contract as a
free agent to come to Seattle, is hitting .229 with his new team,
the Mariners. He's 0-for-8 in the series and is 0-for-his-last-12.

Mariners manager Mike Hargrove held a meeting with his hitters
before the game and told them they were trying too hard. He told
them to relax. Beltre swung at a ball on a 1-2 pitch.

"Adrian obviously swung at a bad pitch to strike out. He got
him to fish for it," Hargrove said.

The Angels won for the 10th time in 13 games at Safeco Field in
the past two seasons.

Game notes
Figgins was the designated hitter. He filled in at second
base while Adam Kennedy was recovering from knee surgery. Kennedy
made his season debut Monday night. Scioscia said he wants to play
Figgins virtually every day at DH, 2B, 3B, SS and CF. Figgins was
2-for-4 in the game and is 13-for-27 (.481) on the Angels'
eight-game road trip that ends Wednesday in Seattle. ... The
Mariners' Wilson Valdez ended an 0-for-20 slump with a single in
the fifth.