Boston's Mike Napoli just keeps on pounding the Angels

Boston's Mike Napoli just keeps on pounding the Angels
Boston's Mike Napoli hits his second home run of the game Saturday in the sixth inning against the Angels at Fenway Park. (Jim Rogash / Getty Images)

C.J. Wilson has pitched Mike Napoli tough over the years, the Angels left-hander having limited the slugger to six hits, including one home run, in 31 at-bats for a .194 average.

But Napoli had Wilson's number in more ways than one Saturday night, hitting two home runs that propelled the Boston Red Sox to an 8-3 victory over the Angels in Fenway Park.

The Angels seem to bring out the best in Napoli, the former Angels catcher who never seemed to live up to Mike Scioscia's high expectations for his work behind the plate and occasionally butted heads with the manager.

Napoli was traded to Toronto for Vernon Wells after 2010, the Blue Jays flipped Napoli to Texas, and Napoli has made the Angels pay ever since, hitting .327 (53 for 162) with 17 home runs and 32 runs batted in against his former club.

"I like doing that, but I don't know what it is," Napoli said, when asked whether he wants to make the Angels pay for letting him go. "It just happens. Guys have teams they do that against. The Angels happen to be it for me."

Napoli also had a little extra motivation against Wilson, even though the left-hander signed his five-year, $77.5-million deal with the Angels before 2012, long after Napoli departed.

Wilson and Napoli were teammates for one season in Texas, helping the Rangers reach the 2011 World Series before Wilson left.

The next spring, in response to what Wilson perceived as some trash-talking on Napoli's part, Wilson tweeted Napoli's cellphone number to 116,000 followers, saying it was a prank. Napoli did not find it amusing.


"I don't even know why he did it," Napoli said at the time. "You don't do that. I am not taking it as a prank. I haven't even talked to him since the end of last season. We don't have that type of relationship."

Wilson eventually deleted the tweet and later tweeted: "OK, I think we've all had a good time. I'm even with Mike for saying he can't wait to hit homers off me."

That didn't appease Napoli.

"I don't remember saying that, but as a power hitter, you're always trying to take pitchers deep," he said. "So I'll say it now, I'm going to try to take him deep."

Napoli took Wilson deep and then some Saturday.

With two outs in the second inning, Napoli lined a full-count pitch over the Green Monster that seemed to be rising as it crashed into the left-field seats. That cut the Angels' lead to 2-1.

With the score tied, 2-2, two outs and a runner on first base in the sixth inning, Wilson fell behind Napoli with a 3-and-1 count. Wilson tried to bury a curve in the dirt for ball four, with the intention of going after the next batter, Rusney Castillo.

But Wilson left the pitch over the plate, and Napoli obliterated it, driving it over the Green Monster in left-center field and completely out of the stadium for a 4-2 Red Sox lead. Estimated distance: 448 feet.

"The intention for that pitch was not to be middle-middle," said Wilson, who gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings, striking out six and walking three. "It was one of those rare instances where I'm actually trying to bounce the ball and I can't."

If Napoli still has any ill will toward Wilson, he wouldn't admit it.

"That was a long time ago," he said of the 2012 incident. "I'm over it."

So, apparently, is Wilson.

Asked about his history with Napoli, Wilson said, "Yeah, we've been playing against each other for 10 years."

How would he describe his relationship with Napoli?

"What does that have to do with anything?" Wilson said. "We played together for one year, so it's not like we know each other well."

Napoli was hitting .182 with five home runs and 14 RBIs before Saturday. Perhaps a big game against his former team and teammate will snap him out of his funk.

"He was really locked in tonight," Wilson said. "This is more like the guy I saw hit .300-plus in Texas, not the guy who's hitting a buck-80. He's obviously found his stroke, so buyer beware for the rest of the season."

Twitter: @MikeDiGiovanna