The Red Sox saw their West Coast road trip come to an end in disappointing fashion on Wednesday afternoon, as they fell to the Angels by a final score of 5-4
Eduardo Rodriguez made his 17th start of the season for Boston in Wednesday’s series finale, and he fell victim to some soft contact that landed in the right spots for Los Angeles hitters.
Over five innings of work, the left-hander yielded four runs — all of which were earned — on nine hits and zero walks to go along with five strikeouts on the afternoon.
The Halos got to Rodriguez early, as a pair of leadoff singles from David Fletcher and Shohei Ohtani were followed by an RBI groundout and RBI single off the bats of Jared Walsh and Phil Gosselin, thus putting the Sox in a two-run hole.
The Red Sox lineup, meanwhile, was matched up against Angels starter Andrew Heaney, and while it took until the fourth inning for them to get their first hit off the left-hander, they did get to him in the fifth.
There, three straight one-out base hits from Christian Arroyo, Christian Vazquez, and Bobby Dalbec resulted in the Sox pushing across their first run of the day. Alex Verdugo added on another run by plating Vazquez on another RBI single, and that evened things at two runs apiece.
Rodriguez, however, was not able to keep that stalemate intact for long, with Ohtani and Walsh going back-to-back with a pair of towering solo shots off the lefty in their half of the fifth. Rodriguez did retire the final three batters he faced, but his day was done after the last out of the inning was recorded.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 87 (62 strikes), the 28-year-old’s poor luck on Wednesday can best be defined by the fact that the 19 balls put into play against him had an average exit velocity of 76.5 mph.
Boston was able to trim their deficit from two runs down to one on an Arroyo RBI single in the sixth, but their momentum was halted when Vazquez grounded into a somewhat-controversial inning-ending double play.
With one out and runners at first and second, Vazquez hit a ground ball to Angels second baseman David Fletcher, who then flipped the ball to shortstop Jose Iglesias.
At first glance, it did not appear as though Iglesias made contact with the second base bag for the force out, but the call was confirmed following a replay review.
From there, Hirokazu Sawamura tossed a perfect frame in relief of Rodriguez, though Darwinzon Hernandez served up another solo home run to Walsh in the seventh, putting his side back in another two-run hole at 5-3.
Again, the Sox countered swiftly, with J.D. Martinez lacing a leadoff triple in the top of the eighth off Angels reliever Mike Mayers and Xander Bogaerts promptly driving him in on a run-scoring double to make it a 5-4 game.
Alas, four runs is all Boston could manage in this one, as Mayers retired the next three Red Sox he faced in order before Halos closer Raisel Iglesias punched out the side in the ninth to end things with a final score of 5-4.
With the loss, the Red Sox end their West Coast swing having gone 3-3 and now sit at 54-34 on the season, 2 1/2 games up on the Rays for first place in the American League East.
Next up: Final series before the All-Star break
The Red Sox will enjoy an off-day on Thursday before welcoming the Phillies into town for a three-game series — their last before the All-Star break — at Fenway Park that begins on Friday night.
Right-hander Garrett Richards will get the ball for Boston in the opener, while fellow righty Vince Velazquez will do the same for Philadelphia.
First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)