Red Sox blow late lead, fall to Angels, 10-5, in 10 innings as bullpen melts down

The Red Sox were one out away from securing a series win over the Angels at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. They instead suffered one of their worst losses of the season to date. Boston fell to Los Angeles by a final score of 10-5 in 10 innings to drop to 10-15 on the year.

Matched up against Angels rookie starter Reid Detmers to begin things on Wednesday, the Sox got on the board first in their half of the third inning. Bobby Dalbec and Christian Arroyo led off by drawing back-to-back walks and, as the lineup turned over, Trevor Story drove both of them in on a two-run double down the left field line.

On the other side of things, Garrett Whitlock was once again impressive in his third start and sixth overall appearance of the season for the Sox. The right-hander allowed just two earned runs on two hits and no walks to go along with nine strikeouts over five solid innings of work.

Both runs Whitlock surrendered came in the top half of the fifth. After giving up a one-out double to Jared Walsh, which broke up the bid for a perfect game, and fanning the next batter he faced, the righty served up a game-tying, two-run home run to Max Stassi before recording the final out of the inning.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 78 (50 strikes), Whitlock turned to his sinker 50% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday and induced 11 swings-and-misses with the pitch. The 25-year-old hurler also saw his ERA on the season rise to 1.25.

Shortly after Whitlock’s night came to a close, the Red Sox quickly responded in their half of the fifth. Arroyo took first base after getting plunked by a Detmers curveball and scored all the way from first when Story lifted another RBI double off the Green Monster to put his side up by a run at 3-2.

In relief of Whitlock, Austin Davis got the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora beginning in the top of the sixth. The left-hander punched out each of the first three batters he faced in relatively easy fashion, but surrendered a booming solo shot to Anthony Rendon in the seventh that knotted things back up at three runs apiece.

After Matt Strahm retired the side in order on three groundouts in the eighth, Xander Bogaerts came through with what appeared to be the hit of the night a half-inning later. With veteran reliever Aaron Loup pitching for Los Angeles, Bogaerts crushed a 397-foot home run of his own that cleared the Green Monster. Bogaerts’ second big fly of 2022 left the shortstop’s bat at a scalding 109.3 mph and put the Red Sox ahead 4-3 heading into the ninth.

Needing just three more outs, Hansel Robles was sent in to go for the save. Robles got the first two outs of the inning, but did so while walking the Halos’ boppers in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Cora then went to Jake Diekman to face the left-handed hitting Walsh.

Walsh, in turn, delivered in the clutch for his side by scoring Trout on an RBI single past a diving Story into right field. Diekman proceeded to walk Kurt Suzuki, which put the potential go-ahead run (Ohtani) just 90 feet away from scoring. He escaped any further damage by getting Stassi to fly out to deep center field.

With the chance to walk if off against Angels reliever Ryan Tepera, Christian Vazquez reached base by drawing a one-out walk but was then thrown out at second as part of an inning-ending strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play that occured on a questionable strike three call with Dalbec at the plate.

Regardless, with this contest now headed into extra innings, it was Matt Barnes who was dispatched for the top of the 10th. Barnes, making his first appearance since Saturday, got the first two outs on eight pitches, but — with the automatic runner already at second — then yielded a back-breaking, two-run home run to Walsh that gave the Angels a 6-4 lead.

The Angels only added on from there, as Barnes allowed two more runners to reach base before getting the hook in favor of Hirokazu Sawamura, who gave up a run-scoring single to Rendon as well as three-run homer to Taylor Ward.

That sequence gave Los Angeles a commanding 10-4 advantage. Boston countered with one run of their own on a Jackie Bradley Jr. single in the bottom of the inning, but it was too little, too late as 10-5 would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left six runners on base as a team on Wednesday. They are now 0-3 in games started by Garrett Whitlock and 0-5 in extra-inning games this season. They have also blown a league-leading four saves in the ninth inning of games or later.

Six Red Sox relievers (Davis, Strahm, Robles, Diekman, Barnes, and Sawamura) combined to allow eight runs (seven earned) on six hits (three home runs), four walks, and four strikeouts over five innings pitched.

Next up: Ohtani vs. Hill in finale

The Red Sox will send veteran left-hander Rich Hill to the mound as they still have a chance to salvage a series victory on Thursday afternoon. The Angels will counter with right-hander Shohei Ohtani, who will be making his first-ever start as a pitcher at Fenway Park. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Taylor Ward: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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