Thursday, April 21, 2011
Red Sox 4, Angels 2 (11): Three Up, Three Down
By Mark Saxon
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Angels walked a tightrope for 10 innings, but the Boston Red Sox finally broke through in the 11th for their second road win of the season -- and second in a row. They won 4-2 Thursday night at Angel Stadium, beating the Angels for the 10th time in the teams' last 11 meetings.
Slump buster. Torii Hunter was in the worst slump of his career when he stepped to the plate in the seventh inning against Josh Beckett. Hunter had been overswinging for weeks and the result was a 3-for-38 (.079) freefall that had pushed his batting average to the brink of the Mendoza Line (.200). With a good at-bat and a powerful swing, Hunter launched a two-run home run into the trees in center field -- on a 3-and-2 pitch -- to tie the game.
Damage control. Tyler Chatwood learned a few things about pitching around trouble Thursday night, but you can only tempt fate so many times. The Red Sox's 11th base runner of the night finally made Chatwood pay when Jacoby Ellsbury broke his bat hitting a two-run single with two outs in the sixth inning. It was a second straight good start for Chatwood, 21, who seems to be gaining a foothold in the Angels' rotation.
Endless patience. Bobby Abreu can tend to wear out a pitcher's patience because he's got so much of it. Just as Beckett started getting tired as his pitch count crept into the 90s, Abreu worked the leadoff walk that led to Hunter's heroics. The Angels have 61 walks this year and Abreu has 17 of them.
Control. The Red Sox have one of those patient lineups that can annoy opposing pitchers. The Angels' pitchers played right into their hands, walking 11 batters and hitting another. Chatwood had five of those walks, but reliever Hisanori Takahashi had control issues, walking the first two batters he faced, and so did Fernando Rodney, who loaded the bases before getting out of it.
Judgment. Erick Aybar committed one of those baseball no-nos -- making the first out at third base -- at a bad time. He tried to stretch his line drive into the right-field corner into a triple leading off the eighth inning and J.D. Drew and Dustin Pedroia both made good throws to throw him out easily. If Aybar had been content with second, the Angels probably could have sacrificed him over and gotten the winning run in to set up closer Jordan Walden.
Boston's clutch. The Angels have had their own share of struggles with getting clutch hits, but nothing like the Red Sox have. Boston came into Thursday's game batting .200 with runners in scoring position, then managed to lower that by going 2-for-18.