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Lackey outduels Zito to lead Angels past Athletics

Sep 29, 2006 - 4:33 AM ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- The Oakland Athletics have to be happy that this will be the last time they see John Lackey this season.

Lackey struck out a career-high 11 in eight dominant innings to continue his success against the Athletics and lead the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to a 2-0 victory.

Making his final start of the season, Lackey (13-11) surrendered just four singles, walking none and throwing 71 of 108 pitches for strikes.

"I just wanted to come out here tonight and throw a good game to end my season on a good note," Lackey said.

Lackey went 3-1 in five starts against the Athletics this season and improved to 9-2 lifetime against them. One of the wins this season was a one-hitter at Oakland on July 7.

"I don't know what it is, but I seem to pitch good games against them," Lackey said. "Some teams you just throw better against than others."

Francisco Rodriguez worked around a one-out walk in ninth for his major league-leading 46th save, which also tied Bryan Harvey's single-season franchise record. Harvey had 46 saves in 1991.

"I just go out and try to do my job to close out games when I need to," Rodriguez said. "If I get the chance to break the team saves record than that's something extra for me."

It also was the final regular-season start for Barry Zito, who will take the mound for the Athletics in Game One of the American League Division Series on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

"I just wanted to go out and work on some things before the playoffs start," Zito said. "I felt like I pitched a good game, and I'm just waiting to get the ball when the playoffs start."

Zito (16-10) gave up one run and seven hits in six innings with one walk and five strikeouts. The lefthander finished 10-3 on the road.

The only trouble for Zito came in the sixth, when the Angels broke through for the game's first run.

"I was throwing a good game until I ran into some trouble in that inning, but I just have to try and minimize damage," Zito said.

Reggie Willits reached on an infield hit with one out and Tim Salmon walked before Juan Rivera delivered an RBI single.

Mike Napoli hit a solo homer - his 16th - with one out in the seventh off Joe Kennedy to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.

"I got a pitch that I was looking for in my zone, and I got good wood on it," Napoli said.

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