Angels defeat Red Sox, 5-3, in 13 innings
Reporting from Boston — For most of Wednesday night and part of Thursday morning, it looked as if Boston’s hex over the Angels still held sway.
Angels starter Ervin Santana was unhittable for four innings -- then the rains came and Santana’s night was done.
The Angels gave a two-run ninth-inning lead to a closer, Jordan Walden, who hadn’t blown a lead in five tries. Only to watch the Red Sox tie the score with a wild rally that included a walk, three hits, a wild pitch and an error.
But in the 13th inning, at 2:40 in the morning Eastern, the Angels’ bad luck finally ran out, with Bobby Abreu’s two-out, bases-loaded single lifting them to a 5-3 victory in a game delayed two hours and 35 minutes by rain.
The winning hit -- the Angels’ first with the bases loaded in their last 14 tries -- came off Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was making his first major league relief appearance. And it made a winner of little-used Trevor Bell, who pitched four scoreless innings to give the Angels only their second win over the Red Sox in 17 tries dating to the 2009 playoffs.
And so ended a painfully long day that started with a 40-minute early afternoon meeting in which Angels Manager Mike Scioscia and his coaching staff decided to shake up their offense by shuffling their lineup, moving Maicer Izturis to the third spot in the batting order and dropping Vernon Wells to seventh for the first time since 2007.
“We peeled the paint off of everything,” Scioscia said. “We had some good discussion on some things and some things we still have to be patient with. We are going to mix and match to find some chemistry. When we find some chemistry, we will stay with it.”
Wells responded with two hits, two runs and two runs batted in. Yet Scioscia almost didn’t get a chance to test his new lineup since a tarp covered the Fenway Park infield all day.
It came off just moments before the game was scheduled to start, but the storm came back with a vengeance a short time later and the umpires finally pulled the teams off the field with one out in the fifth.
The rain eased but hadn’t really stopped when Wells stepped to the plate a minute before midnight, two innings after the delay. And after falling behind reliever Dan Wheeler, Wells drove an 0-2 pitch through the drizzle and off a light stanchion high above the left-field wall.
Wells added a single in the ninth and came around to score on Erick Aybar’s bases-loaded fly ball, giving Walden a 3-1 lead to protect.
Nothing, however, was easy on this night, with Walden walking Jed Lowrie to start the inning. Mike Cameron followed with a single and Walden then bounced a pitch, sending the runners scampering. And naturally -- given that this is the Red Sox and Angels -- when catcher Hank Conger threw to third to try to get Lowrie, the throw got away, allowing Lowrie to score.
The ball hit umpire Mike Hirschbeck in the leg, though, which proved to be a break for the Angels since it kept the ball in the infield, allowing them to retire Cameron at third.
And that out proved big when Carl Crawford followed with a double before scoring the tying run on Jacoby Ellsbury’s two-out, full-court single.
The score stayed that way until Matsuzaka, the 19th of 20 players used by the Red Sox, gave up a sharply hit single by Howie Kendrick. After retiring the next two batters on pop-ups, Matsuzaka gave up a single to Peter Bourjos, then walked on a full-count pitch to load the bases before Aybar lined a single to right.
The teams combined to use 37 players -- including 14 pitchers, who threw 445 pitches. And just think, the teams will go at it again Thursday in an afternoon game that is scheduled to start less than 11 hours after Wednesday’s contest ended.
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