BOSTON -- If Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim proved anything for the Red Sox, it’s that starting pitching isn't one of the team's problems.
Rookie Allen Webster pitched six strong innings against the Angels, allowed three runs on seven hits and walked two to earn a no-decision in the contest. The loss went to Koji Uehara, who allowed the game’s go-ahead run on back-to-back doubles with two out in the ninth and dropped to 5-3 on the season.
The quality start was Webster’s third straight and the Red Sox’s 10th in their past 14 games -- a stretch in which they’ve gone 7-7. It was Boston’s 73rd quality start this season, good for second in the league.
“Tonight was another step forward for [Webster]," manager John Farrell said. “Six solid innings of work.”
Webster pitched well in the game’s first two innings. He allowed two Angels hitters to reach on singles but get no farther than first base. With one out in the third, however, Webster temporarily stumbled and gave up four consecutive hits that accounted for Los Angeles’ first three runs of the game. The main damage in that stretch came on a Mike Trout RBI triple off the top of the scoreboard in left-center.
“I just left some balls over the middle,” Webster said. “Hung a slider to Trout, and he got a triple off that. They got a few from there.”
Webster quickly regained control for the rest of his outing, as a David Freese triple on a ball misplayed by Mookie Betts in center was the only real threat the Angels were able to mount against him in the next three innings. He retired his last five batters -- four straight on groundouts.
“I just tried to do the same thing I did before, which is let them put the ball in play and let the defense do the work,” Webster said. “I feel pretty confident right now on the mound. I just have to tell myself to trust my stuff and let them put the ball in play.”
As Webster’s outing came to its conclusion, the Red Sox hitters did their job. They put the leadoff man on in the bottom of the sixth and got him around to score on a Brock Holt sacrifice fly to tie the game at three apiece. Christian Vazquez’s single with one out in the inning made him the last base runner to reach for either team until the ninth, as three Angels relievers quieted the Red Sox and Alex Wilson kept the Angels at bay with two perfect frames. Wilson has now retired the past 15 batters he’s faced.
After the Angels scored off Uehara in the top of the inning, the Red Sox made noise in their half by getting pinch hitter Yoenis Cespedes on with a single to lead off the inning. But ultimately, the Sox could not get the run in.
“Fly ball off the wall -- that’s the difference in this one,” Farrell said. “I thought, overall, we threw the ball very consistently.”
It was another frustrating one-run loss for Boston -- their 24th this season. However, with the team looking ahead to 2015, Webster’s continued improvement on the mound was a good sign.
“It’s good to see him continue to back up outings in a positive way and build some momentum and, I’m sure, some confidence on his own right," Farrell said.