The Red Sox fell victim to the Shohei Ohtani experience and saw their mini two-game winning streak come to a close with a 5-3 loss at the hands of the Angels in Anaheim on Tuesday night.
In a starting pitching matchup that featured two first-time All-Stars in the middle game of this three-game series, it was Ohtani who came out on top against Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.
Los Angeles’ two-way phenom held the Boston offense in check, limiting a typically-potent offense to just two runs on five hits, zero walks, and four strikeouts in seven strong innings of work.
Eovaldi, meanwhile, lasted just 5 2/3 innings, surrendering five runs — all of which were earned on nine hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with nine punchouts on the night at Angel Stadium.
The Sox actually jumped on Ohtani early, with J.D. Martinez bringing in Enrique Hernandez on a sacrifice fly to give his side an early 1-0 lead right away in the first inning.
Alas, Eovaldi gave that run back and then some in his first frame of work, as Ohtani helped his own cause with a game-tying RBI double that was followed by a two-run home run off the bat of Angels catcher Max Stassi with two outs in the inning.
Eovaldi and Ohtani then proceeded to exchange scoreless frames from the beginning of the second up until the start of the sixth, at which point Martinez struck again by driving in Connor Wong, who led off with a hard-hit double for his first career extra-base hit, on a run-scoring single to right field.
That cut the Halos’ lead down to one run at 3-2, and Xander Bogaerts nearly erased that entirely by hitting a deep fly ball to right-center field with two outs that appeared destined to go over the fence, but was instead caught by a leaping Juan Lagares to rob the shortstop of a potentially game-altering two-run homer.
The Angels were able to capitalize on Lagares’ run-saving play in their half of the sixth, as hits from Phil Gosselin and Stassi followed by an RBI groundout from old friend Jose Iglesias made it a 4-2 game.
Eovaldi was chased shortly after that, but the book on his night was not closed until Brandon Workman allowed an inherited runner to score on a Fletcher RBI single, putting the Angels ahead 5-2.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 104 (71 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler end the first half of his 2021 campaign on a sour note by falling to 9-5 on the year while raising his ERA to 3.66.
After Workman recorded the final out of the sixth, the righty also tossed a shutout seventh inning before Yacksel Rios did the same in the eighth.
Down to their final strike with two outs in the ninth, Hunter Renfroe provided the Sox with a little bit of life by crushing his 13th big fly of the year off Angels closer Raisel Iglesias, but Iglesias rebounded by fanning Christian Arroyo to end things with a final score of 5-3.
With the loss, the Red Sox fell to 54-43 on the season and 3-2 on their West Coast Road trip. They currently have a four-game lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East.
Santana removed with left quad injury
Danny Santana, who started at first base for Boston on Tuesday, had to be removed in the seventh inning after he came up limping while running out a ground ball. He was replaced by Bobby Dalbec.
After the game, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said there is a 50/50 chance Santana winds up going on the injured list after he revealed the utility man suffered a left quad injury.
Next up: Rodriguez vs. Heaney
The Red Sox will send left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez to the hill on Wednesday afternoon as they go for the series win over the Angels, who will counter with fellow southpaw Andrew Heaney.
First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 4:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Shohei Ohtani: Michael Owens/Getty Images)