3 up, 3 down: Angels 6, Red Sox 5
August, 28, 2012
By Ramona Shelburne | ESPNLosAngeles.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Boston Red Sox team that walked into Angel Stadium for a three-game series this week was considerably lighter than the one the Los Angeles Angels swept last week in Boston.
Lighter on the wallet. Lighter on experience. Lighter on star power after the monster nine-player trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto and some $262 million westward to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
These new Sox did not prove to be lightweights though. Boston's second line did far more damage to Angels ace Jered Weaver on Tuesday than its varsity did last week in Boston.
The Angels, though, have far more to play for than Boston these days. And it showed in their effort as they rallied for a 6-5 win in the bottom of the ninth, getting RBIs from Mike Trout and Torii Hunter to complete the comeback.
Trout lined a single to center on an 0-and-2 pitch to drive in Erick Aybar with the tying run and Hunter drove a deep ball to center field, easily allowing Alberto Callaspo to come home with the winning run on a sacrifice fly.
Rally Time. When the Angels fell behind 5-2 in the top of the sixth on Ryan Lavarnway's sacrifice fly, it looked like the kind of game that could get away from them in a hurry. Weaver was laboring, the bats had gone quiet and, once again, the Red Sox just had their number at Angel Stadium. But the Angels, who got a rare solid outing from their beleaguered bullpen, stormed back by scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth and two more in the ninth, winning it on Hunter's sacrifice fly that ended the game.
Another Milestone for Trout. The rookie became the youngest player with 25 home runs and 40 stolen bases with his leadoff home run in Tuesday's game. Trout, 21, is the first rookie to accomplish the feat. The home run snapped what had turned into a minor 1-for-13 slump. Trout also drove in the tying run with an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth.
Pujols picks up where he left off. Albert Pujols may not be at full speed -- literally, the man is running the bases cautiously as he continues to recover from a calf injury -- but who needs to sprint around the bases when you can trot after a home run. Pujols, who'd missed the past four games with the injury, blasted a home run to center field in the bottom of the sixth inning, his fifth homer in the past nine games he has played. It was his MLB-leading 15th homer since the All-Star break.
Weaver a little wobbly again. Weaver did what all starting pitchers aim to do on any particular night: He gave his team a chance to win, though he gave up five runs in seven innings before giving way to Garrett Richards in the top of the eighth. At this point in the season, though, the Angels need Weaver to be dominant, not just decent. And this was his third consecutive ho-hum kind of game. Weaver has now given up 22 hits and 16 runs in his past three starts.
Another Downer. Reliever Scott Downs was placed on the family medical emergency list before the game to attend to an undisclosed personal matter in his home state of Kentucky. Downs can remain on the list between three and seven games, meaning he'll miss at least this three game homestand. The news is yet another blow to the Angels' struggling bullpen, which has been atrocious with a 7.17 ERA and eight blown saves in August.
Texas-sized deficit. As thrilling as Tuesday's comeback win was, it merely kept the Angels 9 1/2 games back of the Texas Rangers in the AL West after Texas edged Tampa Bay 1-0 on Tuesday.