Barcelona, Jan30(Agencies): Barcelona avenged its only defeat in the Spanish league this season with a record-equaling 3-0 win over Hercules on Saturday, provisionally moving seven points clear of second-place Real Madrid.

To add to its fierce rival's plight, Barcelona's 15th consecutive league win equals Madrid's record that had stood since the 1960-61 season. In this winning stretch, Barcelona has outscored its opponents 57-6.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola called it an "immense honor" to equal Madrid's record.

Pedro Rodriguez scored the opener in the 43rd, blasting in a pass from Xavi Hernandez, and Lionel Messi scored two goals in the last three minutes to seal the win at Rico Perez stadium.

Hercules had stunned the defending champions in week two with a 2-0 victory at Camp Nou but Barcelona dominated throughout Saturday and could have scored more goals.

"We knew this visit was important," said Barcelona right-back Dani Alves. "We saw it in the first round. (Hercules) is a well-organised team and pressures a lot."

Barcelona has 58 points. Madrid has 51 ahead of its Sunday match at Osasuna.

In an up-and-down opening, Hercules had the best chance, David Trezeguet poking Nelson Valdez's pass just past the left post in the 21st.

After the scare from the former France striker, Barcelona took control of possession and the game, and Pedro soon converted Barcelona's dominance into its first goal.

The 23-year-old Spanish international has scored 12 goals this season and eight in his last six games. The last Barcelona player to score in six straight games was Ronaldo in 1996-97.

"Pedro has a knack for scoring goals," Guardiola said. "He runs a lot and pressures intensely."

Barcelona smothered Hercules in its own half after the restart, with Pedro having a goal disallowed in the 65th and Messi grazing the right post from inside the area shortly afterward.

Hercules played with 10 men during the last 10 minutes after Francisco Farinos was sent off for a second yellow card. Messi soon took advantage with one of his trademark left-footed shots from the edge of the area in the 87th. The Argentina star then pushed in a pass from Alves for Barcelona's third in the 89th.

Messi has 37 goals — 21 in the league — and nine doubles in all competitions this season.

Also, Sporting Gijon routed Mallorca 4-0 for its first away win in the league this season, 10-man Sevilla drew 3-3 at Deportivo La Coruna and Levante downed Getafe 2-0.

Diego Castro headed home his eighth goal this season to put Sporting in front in the third minute and Mallorca defender Kevin Garcia redirected a shot into his own goal in the 61st to make it 2-0.

Substitute Andre Castro added the third six minutes later and Nacho Novo made it 4-0 in the 87th.

Sporting's third straight win lifted it four points clear of the drop.

"A month ago, everything was black," said Sporting coach Manuel Preciado, who was rumored to be close to being fired with his team in the relegation zone. "And now everything is bright but that isn't so. There is a long way to go."

Lassad Nouioui put Deportivo ahead in the 15th. Four minutes after Sevilla goalkeeper Andres Palop was sent off for handling the ball outside the area, the French forward made it 2-0 in the 62nd.

Sevilla forward Alvaro Negredo grabbed one back a minute later and teammate Julien Escude equalised in the 74th when he pushed in a rebound that goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia could not hold.

Five minutes later, Negredo beat Aranzubia with a left-footed shot to give Sevilla the lead but Deportivo's Laureano "Laure" Sanabria scored in the 88th to split the points.

At Ciutat de Valencia stadium, Valmiro "Valdo" Lopes scored Levante's opener in the 47th. Felipe Caicedo sealed the win seven minutes later to end his team's run of five weeks without a victory. The Ecuadorean striker, who is on loan from Manchester City, has eight goals this season.

Getafe's Manuel del Moral and Levante's Francisco Nadal were sent off after receiving a straight red card with 12 minutes to play.

"They are better but we were more focused and could have even scored more at the end," said Levante coach Luis Garcia.

Elsewhere, Real Sociedad moved four points from Europa League positions through its 2-0 win over the 19th-place Almeria and Florent Sinama Pongolle gave Zaragoza a 2-1 victory over last-place Malaga with an 87th-minute winner.

The Basque side went ahead right on halftime when defender Ion Ansotegi headed in a pass from Raul Tamudo from inside the six-yard box. Ansotegi then returned the favor for the striker in the 87th.

At La Rosaleda stadium, Zaragoza striker Nicolas Bertolo canceled out Malaga's 16th-minute opener by Sergio "Duda" Barbosa with a header in the 31st. Just when a draw appeared certain, Sinama's well-placed strike earned Zaragoza's third straight win and first away victory this season.