By Sean McAdam
ANAHEIM, Calif -- For much of the night on Thursday, the Red Sox couldn't buy a hit with runners in scoring position. Then, up came Adrian Gonzalez with runners on the corners and no out in the top of the 11th inning.
Gonzalez turned on a pitch and drove it into right field for a run-scoring double and Jed Lowrie later added a sacrifice fly, sending the Red Sox to a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels in Boston's first extra-inning contest this season.
The Sox had had numerous chances earlier, including two on and no out in the seventh, then loading the bases with one out in the eighth, but couldn't cash in. Until Gonzalez's at-bat, the Sox had been 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Bobby Jenks got the win with the save going to Jonthan Papelbon. Josh Beckett pitched a gem, allowing two runs on three hits over eight innings, but got a no-decision for his effort.
The Angels had pulled even in the seventh when Beckett made one of his few mistakes all night, leaving a 3-and-2 fastball over the middle of the plate to Torii Hunter, who drove a pitch out to straightaway center for a two-run homer.
The Sox had snapped a scoreless tie in the sixth when, after walks to Carl Crawford and Jason Varitek, Jacoby Ellsbury dropped a broken-bat bloop single into right field, scoring both baserunners.
Beckett didn't allow a hit until the sixth and threw 125 pitches, the second-highest total of his career.
Player of the Game: Adrian Gonzalez
Though he hasn't struggled nearly to the degree that fellow newcomer Carl Crawford has, Gonzalez hasn't had much of an early-season impact on the offense. Before Thursday night, he was tied for fourth in RBI. But he delivered the big hit that had eluded the Red Sox all night when he doubled home J.D. Drew in the top of the 11th inning.
The Angels had Gonzalez shaded to left, but the first baseman nicely turned on a pitch and pulled it into a gaping space in right.
Honorable Mention: Josh Beckett
Beckett turned in his third straight outstanding start, limiting the Angels to just two runs on three hits over eight innings. He deserved the win, but the Sox stranded baserunners left and right and couldn't get the go-ahead run while Beckett was the pitcher of record.
The Goat: Eric Aybar
Aybar laced a ball into the right-field corner leading off the eighth, but foolishly
attempted to go for a triple. A terrific relay by Dustin Pedroia cut down Aybar at third.
The Angels are an aggressive club by nature, but Aybar would have done well to put himself into scoring position with no out. Instead, he ran the Angels out of the potential go-ahead run late in the game.
Turning Point: Gonzalez comes through
Inning after inning, the Red Sox failed to come up with a big hit when they needed it most. Then came Gonzalez in the top of the 11th, producing the go-ahead run with a double pulled into the right field corner.
Until then, the Sox had been a putrid 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
By the Numbers: 15
The Red Sox left 15 runners stranded, compared to the three for the Angels.
Quote of Note:
"I'll take 15 runners stranded with a win. Doesn't matter how many hits you get or
how many you strand as long as you get the win." -- Adrian Gonzalez