Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 4, Angels 2

August, 9, 2014
Aug 9
1:25
AM ET
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- At 24, Allen Webster may not consider himself baby-faced, but if he strolled over to Disneyland this weekend, he probably could get in on a kid’s admission.

But there was nothing childish about the way Webster pitched Friday night in Angel Stadium, where he flashed some mettle against one of the league’s most intimidating lineups, the Los Angeles Angels.

The Red Sox right-hander pitched 6 2/3 innings, the deepest he has pitched into a game in 11 big-league starts, struck out both Mike Trout (95 mile an hour fastball) and Albert Pujols (changeup), and checked the Angels on two runs and four hits before departing with a 4-2 lead.

The result: The Red Sox won, 4-2, with Yoenis Cespedes hitting a two-run double and Dustin Pedroia an RBI single in a three-run, third-inning uprising against Angels starter Jered Weaver. Mike Napoli added the final run on a fifth-inning home run, his 14th of the season.
The Sox have now split the first four games of this trip, having dropped two out of three in soggy St. Louis. The win was just their fourth in the last 16 games.

All the way with JBJ: Jackie Bradley Jr. may be hitless in his last 27 at-bats, which is why he did not start for the third time in four games on this trip, but the rookie center-fielder made two sensational plays after entering as a defensive replacement for Daniel Nava in the eighth.

[+] EnlargeBradley Jr
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesJackie Bradley Jr.'s leaping catch in the ninth inning might have saved the game for the Red Sox.
Bradley, who was playing deeper than normal in a no-doubles alignment, raced in to snag Josh Hamilton’s liner in the eighth, then made what may have been a game-saving catch in the ninth, crashing into the wall after a long run and somehow holding onto Howie Kendrick’s drive, which he caught in the top of his glove’s webbing.

David Freese followed with a double, and one out later, Koji Uehara walked Chris Iannetta to put the tying run on base. But Uehara, though it was anything but a clean outing, struck out Kole Calhoun to record his 24th save.

More leather: Cespedes also made a terrific catch, running down Calhoun’s liner in the gap to end the seventh.

On the rebound: It was an impressive bounce-back performance from Webster’s start last Friday night in Fenway Park, when the Yankees chased him in the third inning after he’d issued six walks and TV commentators were openly questioning whether he was afraid to throw a strike.

No fear factor here, as Webster commanded the strike zone throughout the night, throwing just 84 pitches, 53 for strikes.

And in an inning that could have spun out of control, Webster choked off an Angels rally spurred in part by a fielding error by left-fielder Cespedes, who had trouble corralling Chris Iannetta’s drive into the corner, allowing Efran Navarro, who had walked, to score from first.

Solo artist: Eleven of Napoli’s last 12 home runs have come with the bases empty. But even though he is four seasons removed from playing for the Angels, Napoli still doesn’t miss a chance to remind Angels manager Mike Scioscia of what he once had. Napoli went 1-for-3 Friday night and is batting .350 with 14 home runs against his former team, his highest average against any AL team.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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