ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Angels don't play Jimmy Dean's classic song "Big Bad John" on the public address system anymore when John Lackey gets the third out of an inning.
They didn't need to on Sunday. The crowd of 35,107 was more than aware of how much the lanky Texan enjoys pitching in his former home ballpark — and how much they miss him around these parts.
Lackey beat his former team again with eight superb innings, Carl Crawford hit his first home run in a Boston uniform, and the Red Sox completed a pitching-dominated four-game sweep of Los Angeles with a 7-0 victory that extended their winning streak to five.
"You're facing tough pitching every night, and you have to beat the good pitchers," manager Mike Scioscia said. "This isn't about just beating pitchers that you match up well against. It's about finding ways to beat the guys that are pitching well, and we haven't been doing that.
"It's tough to define roles in the lineup when guys aren't playing up to their potential. We're not there yet. A lot of guys are struggling, and we need to reverse that," he said.
One thing Scioscia tried Sunday was putting third baseman Alberto Callaspo in the cleanup spot for the first time in his six-year career. He was 1 for 4, including an infield single on a 12-pitch at-bat his first time up.
"Right now, one of the few guys who have been attacking the ball and hitting it hard is Alberto. And although he's not a prototypical cleanup hitter, he's great with guys in scoring position," Scioscia said.
"He's not the kind of guy who's going to break up a game with a home run, but he certainly can drive the ball when he gets a hold of one. And we need to get a little bit of continuity, so we put him in there. Obviously, Torii (Hunter) has to get it going."
Lackey (2-2) scattered six hits, struck out six and stranded eight baserunners, becoming the third straight Boston starter to hold the Angels scoreless. The right-hander's solid outing came on the heels of Daisuke Matsuzaka's eight innings of one-hit ball in Saturday night's 5-0 victory.
Josh Beckett allowed two runs and just three hits over eight innings in the series opener before the Red Sox won 4-2 in 11. The next night, Jon Lester gave up four hits in six scoreless innings of a 4-3 win, helping Boston's rotation carve out a minuscule 0.60 ERA in the series. The only blemish was Hunter's two-run homer off Beckett.
"These guys came in swinging the bats, and the pitching was unbelievable this series. The pitching was sick," Hunter said. "Lackey pounded the strike zone and changed speeds and got the outs when he needed to. It was as simple as that."
Lackey, who spent his first eight big league seasons with the Halos, is 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts against them. He is 51-32 with a 3.93 ERA at Angel Stadium in 114 starts, including a 4-2 victory for the Red Sox last July 27. He left Anaheim to sign a five-year, $82.5 million free-agent contract with the Red Sox in December 2009.
"I've won a few games in this stadium for sure," said Lackey, who won Game 7 of the 2002 World Series in the ballpark as a rookie. "This is a great place to pitch, especially with that ocean air coming through here a little bit. So you've got to hit it pretty good."
Matt Palmer (1-1) allowed four runs and six hits in five-plus innings. Adrian Gonzalez had three hits and two RBIs for the Red Sox, who have won 13 of 14 games against the Angels since Los Angeles swept them in the 2009 AL division series.
Crawford, who signed a seven-year, $142 million deal with the Red Sox in December after setting career highs with 19 homers and 90 RBIs last season for Tampa Bay, made it 6-0 in the sixth with a drive to right-center on a full count against Hisanori Takahashi after Kevin Youkilis chased Palmer with a leadoff single. Crawford's homer came in his 81st at-bat with the Red Sox.
A light but steady rain pelted Angel Stadium all morning, but the only part of the infield that was covered was the mound, and the first pitch was delayed 5 minutes. The Angels have been rained out at home only 15 times in franchise history and 10 times since moving down to Anaheim. The last rainout was June 16, 1995, against the Chicago White Sox.
NOTES: This was Boston's first four-game sweep at Anaheim since June 1980. The Red Sox swept a four-game set from the Angels last May at Fenway Park, outscoring them 36-16. ... Angels 2B Maicer Izturis was a late scratch because of a sore left hamstring. ... For the third straight game, Boston's starting pitcher struck out the side in an inning. Angels batters struck out 34 times in the series. ... Callaspo, whose line-drive single off Matsuzaka's glove was the only hit the right-hander allowed on Saturday, has now started in every spot in the batting order at least once during his six-year career.