Red Sox held in check by Shohei Ohtani in 8-0 shutout loss to Angels

The Red Sox lost their series against the Angels at Fenway Park on Thursday afternoon. Boston fell to Los Angeles by a final score of 8-0 in Thursday’s series finale, thus dropping to 10-16 on the season.

Rich Hill, making his fifth start of the year for the Sox, allowed just one hit and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over a season-high five scoreless innings of work. The veteran left-hander took a perfect game into the fourth before issuing a leadoff walk to Taylor Ward. He then lost his bid for a no-hitter when Shohei Ohtani lifted a one-out single 389 feet single to deep center field that Jackie Bradley Jr. lost in the sun.

With runners on the corners, Hill did not falter and instead fanned Anthony Rendon on five pitches before getting Jared Walsh to pop out to Kevin Plawecki behind home plate. He ended his day by retiring the final three batters he faced in the fifth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 68 (40 strikes) Hill induced three swings-and-misses each with his four-seam fastball, curveball, and slider while the velocity of his pitches ranged from 66.9 to 89.8 mph. The 42-year-old did not factor into Thursday’s decision, though he did lower his ERA on the season to 2.86.

In relief of Hill, Red Sox manager Alex Cora first used Tanner Houck to piggyback off the starter. Houck, in turn, struck out the side in the sixth before running into some trouble in the seventh. After walking Rendon with one out, the right-hander served up a go-ahead two-run home run to Walsh that traveled 344 feet down the right field line and hooked inside the Pesky Pole. It also put Boston in a 2-0 hole going into the seventh-inning stretch.

To that point in the contest, an Enrique Hernandez-less Boston lineup had been held in check by Ohtani, who was making his first career start as a pitcher at Fenway Park on Thursday. The Sox certainly had their chances, though. In the bottom of the third, Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts hit back-to-back two-out singles but were stranded there by J.D. Martinez, who struck out swinging.

Two innings later, Jackie Bradley Jr. led off with a hard-hit double off Ohtani to put a runner in scoring position with no outs. He, too, was left stranded there, as was Martinez in the sixth after he reached base via a one-out double and advanced to third base on an Alex Verdugo groundout.

Ohtani capped off his strong outing by giving up another hit to Bradley Jr. with one out in the seventh, but once again left him on base by getting Plawecki to fly out before punching out Trevor Story for a fourth time.

Houck, meanwhile, came back out for the eighth and allowed the first three Angels he faced to reach on a single, hit by pitch, and single off the Green Monster. With the bases loaded and the infield in, David Fletcher ripped an RBI single to left field to plate a run and keep the line moving. Ohtani did the very same by smoking a 103.7 mph run-scoring single off the left field wall himself. Rendon knocked Houck out of the game with an RBI groundout that gave the Angels a commanding 5-0 lead.

Kutter Crawford, making his first appearance since Sunday, took over for Houck and allowed both of the runners he inherited to score on a two-run single from Walsh before getting out of the inning. The Red Sox went down in order in their half of the eighth before Crawford gave up a solo homer to Brandon Marsh in the ninth.

Down to their final three outs and trailing by a whopping eight runs, Verdugo, Franchy Cordero, and Bobby Dalbec were all retired by Max Meyers to put the finishing touches on an 8-0 shutout loss for Boston. Sox hitters went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base as a team.

Next up: Welcoming in the White Sox

The Red Sox will kick off the final leg of this six-game homestand by welcoming in the White Sox for a three-game series that begins on Friday night. Boston will roll with right-hander Nathan Eovaldi in the opener while Chicago will turn to fellow righty Vince Velasquez.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on Apple TV+.

(Picture of Shohei Ohtani: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Author: Brendan Campbell

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

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