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Rangers unable to solve Lackey

Rangers unable to solve Lackey

ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton was asked if Angels starter John Lackey was particularly good on Sunday afternoon.

"I have no clue," said Hamilton after going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the Rangers' 7-3 loss to the Angels. "I couldn't see out there. I hate day games so bad."

He has reason to hate day games. Hamilton is hitting .248 during the day and .325 at night. He also misplayed a ball hit by Vladimir Guerrero that went for an RBI double rather than being caught for the third out of an inning.

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"You have to understand ... I just can't stand it," Hamilton said. "The field is OK. I can wear sunglasses out there, but I've tried to hit with sunglasses, and it just doesn't work."

Some of his teammates may have been able to see Lackey better, but they didn't have any more success than Hamilton. Lackey struck out a career-high 12 over six scoreless innings while allowing just two hits and three walks in helping the Angels complete a three-game sweep of the Rangers.

During one stretch in the first through third innings, Lackey struck out seven straight, one short of the American League record set by Nolan Ryan when he was with the Angels in 1972 and 1973 and tied by three others.

Now, Ryan is the Rangers president, and he watched from his second-row seat on Sunday as his hitters tied a club record by striking out seven straight times against Lackey. The Rangers struck out 15 times on the afternoon, a season high.

"He was unbelievable," Texas outfielder Marlon Byrd said. "He missed his spot once with me, and he was not missing his slider with anybody. I don't know if he's starting to get revved up for the playoffs, but he looked great out there."

The Rangers avoided being shut out when Hank Blalock hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Rangers also had three doubles on the afternoon to give them 358 on the season, breaking the club record set in 2006. The Major League record is 373, set by the Cardinals in 1930 and tied by the Red Sox in 1997 and again in 2004. The Rangers currently are tied for fifth with the 1930 Indians.

But achieving that milestone did not allow the Rangers to avoid being swept or losing for the sixth time in their last eight games. They are 75-81 on the season, and one loss in their last six games will leave them with their eighth losing season in the last nine years.

"We just have to go out and play a little bit harder and a little bit smarter," Byrd said. "Play the game right, and whatever happens, happens. If we hustle and play hard, we can put something together the last six games."

Rangers right-hander Scott Feldman, starting in place of Brandon McCarthy, went six innings and came one batter away from his 13th quality start of the season. But Feldman ended up allowing six runs in six innings and now is 5-8 with a 5.45 ERA on the year.

The Angels took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-run home run by Mark Teixeira, and Garret Anderson added an RBI single in the fifth. But the killer was a two-out three-run home run by Sean Rodriguez in the top of the sixth that gave the Angels a 6-0 lead.

"He was facing a tough opponent who looked like he wasn't going to give up anything, and he had to minimize the damage," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Feldman. "But right there, in the sixth, he gave up that three-run bomb, and that hurt."

Feldman ended up going six innings, and the Rangers are 47-27 when their starters go six frames. But that formula hasn't worked for Feldman. The Rangers are 5-12 when he goes six innings and 42-15 when all others make it that far.

"I did go six innings, but I gave up six runs," Feldman said. "It would have been nice to get that last out and not put my team in a big hole. Hank's home run might have ended up tying it. It's not my goal to go just six innings, and it's not my goal to give up six runs, either."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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