Red Sox

Luis Valbuena's solo homer lifts Angels to 3-2 win over Red Sox

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Luis Valbuena's solo homer lifts Angels to 3-2 win over Red Sox

ANAHEIM, Calif. --The Los Angeles Angels made their five hits count Sunday.

Luis Valbuena hit a tiebreaking solo home run in the seventh inning, Mike Trout and Andrelton Simmons also homered and the Angels beat the Boston Red Sox 3-2.

Valbuena hit his ninth shot of the season into short right field to leadoff the inning, rounding out a trio of solo leadoff homers for the Angels.

After failing to win any of their previous seven series, the Angels pulled back within two games of .500 by taking two of three against the Red Sox. The Angels' last series win also came against Boston, taking two of three at Fenway Park last month.

But the underlying issue, getting the offense to consistently deliver and help out a superb defense and lights-out bullpen, is obvious to Angels manager Mike Scioscia.

"We need to get better on the offensive end if we're going to make the push we want to make," Scioscia said. "There is no reason to feel frustrated, there is no reason to feel optimistic. We know what we need to do."

Trout answered Hanley Ramirez's homer to left field in the top of the sixth that gave Boston a 2-1 lead by launching a massive shot to center. It was Trout's third home run in five games and his fifth RBI of the eight-game homestand.

Parker Bridwell (4-1) gave up two runs on five hits in seven innings. Bud Norris earned his 15th save while only giving up a single to Ramirez to start the ninth. Xander Bogaerts hit into a double play to end the game.

Rick Porcello (4-13) allowed three runs in eight innings, his 18th consecutive start where he threw at least 6 innings. He struck out six and walked one.

Red Sox manager John Farrell was concerned with how Angel Stadium can play small on a hot day and those fears came to pass on three occasions.

"Still, we're in a 3-2 ballgame with the go-ahead run at the plate and we don't make it click," Farrell said.

Bridwell retired the first 10 batters he faced and 14 of 15 Red Sox before Sandy Leon singled with two outs in the fifth. Simmons made a sliding backhand grab on Brock Holt's ground ball to short but couldn't get the throw off, putting two runners on. Deven Marrero's line-drive single then fell in front of a diving Ben Revere in left and scored Leon to tie the game at 1.

"We've got to get back to what we showed here early in games the last two nights, which is the use of the whole field," Farrell said.

After hitting the game-winner homer Saturday night, Simmons sent his 11th home run to left-center in the fourth to give the Angels a brief 1-0 lead.

Simmons cleanly fielded six straight balls between the second and fourth inning before his homer and started the double play in the ninth, again confirming his credentials as the team's defensive centerpiece.

His surge in power, however, is what is getting noticed, even if it seems like a non-story to Simmons.

"I'm more surprised I didn't hit more the last couple years," Simmons said. "I know what I'm capable."

PEN PRESENCE

The Angels got 12 scoreless innings from their bullpen over the last four games, allowing just two hits in that span while striking out 13.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia got the day off to rest his sore left knee. ... Rafael Devers, a touted 20-year-old 3B prospect, was called up Sunday and will make his major league debut Tuesday.

Angels: Yunel Escobar was slotted at DH to give Albert Pujols two days off going into a six-game road trip. Valbuena replaced Escobar at 3B, while C.J. Cron got the nod at 1B.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (4-2, 3.66 ERA) will make his second start since coming off the disabled list because of a right knee injury when the Red Sox open a three-game series at the Seattle Mariners on Monday. Rodriguez went six scoreless innings to pick up the win against the Mariners on May 26.

Angels: RHP Jesse Chavez (5-10, 4.88) has gone seven straight starts without recording a win and will try to end that futility when the Angels open a three-game series at the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday. Chavez has allowed 12 home runs in 10 road starts.

Drellich: These Red Sox can do no wrong

Drellich: These Red Sox can do no wrong

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- We’re not firing on all cylinders yet. The scary thing is, we’re not even playing our best. Just wait until we really get going.

You’ve heard these phrases and their variants before. They’re typically worthless.

RED SOX 9, ANGELS 0

Someone is always performing poorly. Always. That’s life in a sport where the best teams lose 40 percent of the time, where the best hitters fail 7 times out of 10, and all the other cliches.

What may be most remarkable about the Red Sox’ 15-2 run is that for an extended time, we are seeing a baseball team actually bump up against its ceiling. They have four grand slams. There are two major- league teams that have only three wins.

They are actually playing their best.

“It’s very rare,” Alex Cora said Wednesday night, after becoming the first rookie manager in history to begin his career with 15 wins in 17 games. “There’s always something that is not going with the others. But right now, defense, pitching and offense -- base running too. You know, we were aggressive today  [when Eduardo Nunez was thrown out trying to stretch a double] but we’ll take that one. We’re doing better. We’re doing a lot better. And I don’t know, man. It’s just, it’s just fun to watch.

“I know how good they are. But it’s just something about them, they make you feel confident. You show up every day to work, I enjoy it, I’m having a blast with them. Not only in the dugout, but in the clubhouse. It’s fun. It’s fun to be around them. It’s a good group, and we’re growing together, we’re learning together and you know, we’re going to keep getting better."

“All systems go” rarely has more validity as a description for a baseball team than it does the Red Sox at present.

MORE DRELLICH

“I’ve been fortunate to be on some good teams and I’m sure I have [had similar stretches], but not, I don’t think, to this extent, where we’re playing good defense, we’re throwing the ball so well,” said Mitch Moreland, who homered Wednesday night in a 9-0 win over the Angels. “We’re coming up with big hits. Everybody in the clubhouse has done something to help the team win. It might just be because it’s fresh on my mind, but it stands out as good a ball as I think I’ve been a part of in the big leagues.”

Imagine how good a team can be if everyone is healthy and performing well. (By the way, the Sox are missing Xander Bogaerts.) But the best 17-game start in the 118-year history of a franchise has been inclusive of virtually everyone. Even Blake Swihart is getting some at-bats in these blowouts. 

Perhaps the bullpen feels a little left out lately, because the Sox are romping. These are thoroughly dominating performances, led by starting pitching. Rick Porcello -- who we may now more often mention won a Cy Young award two years ago -- has one walk in four starts. He’s 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA.

Rafael Devers, meanwhile, is the youngest Sox player to hit a grand slam since Tony Conigliaro in 1965.

Things will change. They’ll get ugly at some point. For now, though, there’s no waiting to see what a team looks like when everything is actually working. 

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Red Sox continue rolling with 9-0 rout of Angels

Red Sox continue rolling with 9-0 rout of Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Everything is going right for the Boston Red Sox, and it has propelled them to the best start in the franchise's long history.

Rafael Devers hit his first career grand slam, Rick Porcello threw six scoreless innings and the Red Sox improved to 15-1 since losing on opening day with a 9-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.

Mitch Moreland had four RBI, including a two-run homer in the ninth, and J.D Martinez hit a solo shot in the seventh to help the Red Sox to their sixth consecutive win.

The Red Sox are the fifth team since the American League was established in 1901 to post at least 14 wins in their first 17 games.

"We've had a pretty good run at it here, pretty much the whole season so far," Moreland said. "It seems like one through nine, everybody is kind of stepping up. Obviously, been throwing the ball really well on the mound. Just playing a real complete game, a clean game right now."

Devers hit a home run for the second game in a row, putting his third of the season off the wall in right field just over the yellow line to make it 6-0 after Moreland singled to score Mookie Betts.

After getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, Porcello (4-0) cruised to his league-leading fourth win. He gave up six hits and struck out six without issuing a walk.

The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the first. Hanley Ramirez doubled to center, with the ball landing just past a leaping Mike Trout, and Moreland drove him in with a single to right.

"Our offense is really setting the tone right now and doing an incredible job. I mean, they are doing a great job of getting on their starter early," Porcello said. "The runs they are putting up, we're just going out there and attacking the strike zone and get outs and chew up as much of the game as possible."

Tyler Skaggs (2-1) gave up six runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings for the Angels, who have lost two straight following a seven-game winning streak.

The Angels have been outscored 19-1 through the first two games of the series.

"You're going to run into some waves like this where it just doesn't seem like you're putting things together, but we're a much better offensive team than in the last couple of years," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts (ankle) took ground balls during batting practice, but manager Alex Cora said "there's no rush" to bring him back. . RHP Steven Wright (knee) will start at Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday. . LHP Bobby Poyner (hamstring) will be sent out on a rehab assignment soon, with weather likely determining where he will go.

Angels: Shohei Ohtani is expected to make his next start after being limited to two innings Tuesday because of a blister on the middle finger of his right hand. Ohtani will be available to hit against the Red Sox on Thursday. . RHP JC Ramirez underwent surgery to repair a torn UCL on Tuesday.

CALIFORNIA SUN

The Red Sox have not been good in the Pacific Time Zone, posting a .438 win percentage (89-114) when playing on the West Coast over the previous 16 seasons. After not winning a series at the Angels, Oakland or Seattle last season, they already have one under their belt.

AT HOME ON THE ROAD

Devers extended his road hitting streak to 12 games dating back to Sept. 18, 2017, and it was his fourth homer in that span. He has a hit in 19 of his last 21 road games going back to last season.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (1-0, 3.72) gave up one run in six innings against Baltimore on Friday. Rodriguez's only career start at Angel Stadium was a brief one, giving up seven runs in 1 2/3 innings in 2015.

Angels: RHP Nick Tropeano (1-0, 0.00) held Kansas City scoreless in 6 2/3 innings to get the win Thursday. Tropeano has never faced the Red Sox.

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