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Thursday, May 5, 2011
Angels 5, Red Sox 3 (13): Three Up, Three Down

By Mark Saxon

Vernon Wells
Vernon Wells' two-run homer over the Green Monster was one of his few major contributions to the Angels' season so far.

BOSTON -- It may have seemed as if it took forever, because it did, but the Angels finally beat their nemeses.

After losing 15 of the previous 16 games to the Boston Red Sox, the Angels waited through a two-hour, 35-minute rain delay plus four extra innings Wednesday night, but broke the hex with a 5-3 win. Slumping outfielder Vernon Wells' provided virtually all of the Angels' offense until Bobby Abreu's two out, two-run single off Daisuke Matsuzaka in the 13th inning.

The game ended at 2:45 a.m. ET, more than 7-1/2 hours after Josh Beckett threw the first pitch. The teams have an afternoon game Thursday. First pitch is scheduled for less than 11 hours after the end of this one.

The Red Sox didn't get a hit until the seventh inning, when Jed Lowrie came up with a one-out, two-strike single to right field off Scott Downs, the Angels' third pitcher of the game.

Angels closer Jordan Walden blew his first save of the season in a wild ninth inning. The Red Sox scored their second run after a wild pitch and catcher Hank Conger's errant throw to third. The tying run would have scored, too, except Conger's throw bounced off umpire John Hirschbeck and stayed in the infield.

The Red Sox rallied to tie it anyway on a Carl Crawford double and Jacoby Ellsbury RBI single.

The Good:

Magic man. We'll never know. Maybe this would have been the night Ervin Santana threw the Angels' first one-man no-hitter since Mike Witt's perfect game in 1984. OK, so he only got through four innings, but his stuff was superb. Santana struck out half of the 14 men he faced.

Wells erupts. Imagine how good that must have felt for Wells. His two-run home off Dan Wheeler slammed off the light tower way above the Green Monster in the seventh inning. It was Wells' first major contribution to this Angels season, in the 31st game. By now, his struggles are well-documented. He came into that at-bat hitting .174. He also had a single in the ninth and scored a run to get up to .187. Maybe this will get him going, but that's been said before.

Relief renaissance. One of the primary reasons the Angels had lost so many games to the Red Sox over the last couple of years: Their relievers always turned tight games into blowouts. Not this time. Rich Thompson and Downs locked down the middle of the game, but Walden couldn't handle the end despite a fastball that touched 101 mph.

The Bad:

Late guys. It's fair to say that your best two relievers shouldn't cough up three runs in the last two innings, but Fernando Rodney and Walden left the door open and Boston somehow had the energy to barge through. Rodney gave up three hits and made a silly decision to try to backhand a throw to Conger while sliding on the wet turf when he had no play at any base.

No meat. No matter who manager Mike Scioscia seems to plug into the No. 5 hole in the lineup, they produce blanks. Alberto Callaspo went 0-for-6 with a strikeout and double play that ended a bases-loaded threat in the first inning. He started the game batting .289 and finished it batting .272.

Weather. You know it's a nasty night when only a few hundred Red Sox fans stick it out to the bitter end. But as the game crept past 1:30 a.m. on the East Coast, most of the drenched fans had long since gone home. It has been a tough winter and early spring in the Northeast.