Angels show grit in 11-0 victory over Boston
Reporting from Boston
Every season there are games that teams look back on as turning points; ones in which they overcame adversity, corrected flaws or built confidence and momentum.
It’s far too early to bring that kind of perspective to anything the Angels have accomplished this season. But let’s just say their 11-0 rout of the Boston Red Sox on Thursday at Fenway Park had all the right earmarks.
You want adversity? The Angels were back in the clubhouse less than seven hours after a gutty, rain-delayed 13-inning win the night before.
“You saw a bunch of guys that were physically beat up and emotionally drained come out and play a terrific game,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “That speaks to the character of our club.”
As for correcting mistakes, after averaging less than 4.1 runs through their first 31 games, the Angels had more than twice as many by the fifth inning against John Lackey, a pitcher they had never beaten.
“We came out aggressive,” said Howie Kendrick, who had three hits, drove in two runs, scored once and stole a base. “Guys were swinging and making good contact.”
Then there’s momentum. After losing six straight to the Red Sox and 15 of 16 over the last two seasons, the Angels flew home Thursday with a two-game winning streak against Boston and four wins in their last seven games overall.
“Whenever you get a winning streak going, that’s huge,” said Peter Bourjos, who had three hits and scored a career-high four runs. “Now we’ve got the confidence going into” Friday.
And that’s a good thing, because Friday brings another challenge — a three-game home series with the Cleveland Indians, who have the best record in the major leagues.
“The schedule’s going to bring a tough game every day,” Scioscia said. “We saw some things show up on the field that haven’t been as consistent as we need them to be. That’s what we’re going to carry over.”
Such things include hitting with runners in scoring position. The Angels, abysmal in that category all season, went seven for 18 with runners on second or third Thursday.
One of those hits belonged to Erick Aybar, who matched a career high with four hits. Kendrick and Bourjos added three hits each and Bobby Abreu and Alberto Callaspo had two apiece, leading the Angels to 18 hits and the most one-sided shutout victory over Boston in franchise history.
All that came less than 24 hours after an impatient Scioscia met with his coaching staff, searching for ways to jump-start an offense that led the league in strikeouts and double plays but ranked in the bottom half in runs, walks and RBIs.
“Everybody was very, very clear there has to be some adjustment,” he said. “When guys are swinging to their potential, we’ll have a lineup that will have a lot of continuity. We’re trying to find it with maybe four or five guys that have been struggling.”
Speaking of guys who have been struggling, even Vernon Wells had a hit and stole a base Thursday.
“We saw a lot of good things,” Scioscia said. “We ran the bases great. Hitting with runners in scoring position, we were excellent. Good approaches. And it led to a big offensive day.”
The kind he may someday look back on fondly.
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