Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 6, Angels 2
July, 6, 2013
By Dan Arritt, Special to ESPNBoston.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Boston Red Sox were aided Friday night by some shaky defense through the first seven innings. When David Ortiz got his chance to step to the plate in the eighth, he did all the heavy lifting himself.
After two miscues in the Los Angeles Angels outfield led to a pair of unearned runs, Ortiz came up as a pinch hitter and launched a two-run homer to right field, giving the Red Sox all the insurance they would need in the 6-2 victory at Angel Stadium, propelling them to their league-leading 54th victory.
It was the fifth pinch-hit home run of Ortiz's career and first since May 29, 2011, when he hit a solo shot in the top of the ninth against the Detroit Tigers to lift Boston to a 4-3 victory.
Ortiz did not start the game because the Red Sox are facing six straight right-handed starters beginning Saturday night and manager John Farrell wanted to give him time off after the cross-country flight Thursday night from Boston.
The Angels stayed with left-hander C.J. Wilson as long as possible, keeping Ortiz on the bench. But after Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton dropped a two-out fly ball that allowed Shane Victorino to score from first for a 3-2 lead in the seventh, the Angels lifted Wilson after 121 pitches.
Dane De La Rosa finished the seventh and then came out for the eighth, issuing a leadoff double to right-center by first baseman Daniel Nava. Ortiz then pinch hit for third baseman Brandon Snyder and clubbed his 17th home run of the season.
Los Angeles left fielder J.B. Shuck, in the lineup because of a wrist injury to Peter Bourjos, couldn't prevent a two-out single by Jarrod Saltalamacchia from bouncing over his head in the second inning, allowing a second run to score all the way from first.
Red Sox starter Felix Doubront weaved his way through 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs and five hits, four of which went for extra bases. Doubront turned the ball over to Craig Breslow, who stranded Alberto Callaspo at second base.
The Red Sox appeared to have Wilson destined for an early exit after he threw 28 pitches in the second inning, when Boston took its 2-0 lead. But the Red Sox couldn't capitalize on leadoff singles in the fourth and fifth innings, and loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth but couldn't come through against Wilson. In the meantime, the Angels scored a run in the third on a ground-ball double play and tied the score in the fourth on Howie Kendrick's solo home run.
COOLING TREND: The Angels thought they finally had Mike Napoli figured out. Until the ninth inning, that is.
The Red Sox first baseman and occasional designated hitter went hitless in his first four at-bats, striking out twice and grounding into a double play, but then launched one of his trademark towering home runs in the ninth.
After he was traded by the Angels at the end of the 2010 season, Napoli made them pay the next two seasons by hitting .396 with 12 home runs in 111 at-bats against them. After his 1-for-5 performance Friday, he's 3-for-19 against the Angels this season with nine strikeouts.