Lionel Messi scored two late goals on Saturday as leaders Barcelona won 3-0 away to Hercules, their 15th consecutive victory matching the La Liga record set by Real Madrid in the 1960-61 season.
Promoted Hercules stunned the champions with a 2-0 win at the Nou Camp back in September, the only defeat Barca have suffered in the league this season, and they made life tough for their visitors until Pedro struck just before the break.
World player of the year Messi had had a poor game by his standards until the 87th minute, just after Hercules had been reduced to 10 men with a red card for Francisco Farinos, when he struck the decisive goal off the post.
Two minutes later, he tapped in Barca's third for his 21st of the season.
Barca moved on to 58 points from 21 games, pulling seven clear of second-placed Real Madrid, who visit Osasuna on Sunday.
Earlier, struggling Sporting Gijon and Real Zaragoza both notched their first away wins this season to climb away from the foot of the standings.
Sporting's steady improvement was confirmed with a third consecutive victory, beating Real Mallorca 4-0 with goals from Diego Castro, Andre Castro, Nacho Navo and an own goal.
They climbed to 12th with 22 points from 21 games ahead of Hercules and 14th-placed Zaragoza on goal difference.
Javier Aguirre's Zaragoza also claimed their third consecutive victory, Florent Sinama Pongolle completing a 2-1 comeback win at Malaga.
Levante, who started the weekend bottom of table, were 2-0 winners at home to Getafe and Real Sociedad sank Almeria 2-0.