It took 10 innings and nearly four hours to accomplish, but the Red Sox won their sixth straight game on Tuesday with a hard-fought, come-from-behind win over the Angels at Angel Stadium.
Boston defeated Los Angeles by a final score of 6-5 in 10 innings to improve to 29-27 on the season and a perfect 5-0 on its current west coast road trip.
Garrett Whitlock, making his ninth start of the season for the Sox, allowed four earned runs on six hits, zero walks, and five strikeouts over just four innings of work. The right-hander served up a two-run home run to Mike Trout in the bottom of the first before giving up another run on a fielder’s choice in the second and a Max Stassi RBI double in the third.
Whitlock ended his night by striking out the side in the bottom half of the fourth. The 25-year-old finished with a final pitch count of 71 (47 strikes). He did not factor into Tuesday’s decision, though he did raise his ERA on the season to 3.51.
While Whitlock may have struggled, the Red Sox lineup certainly backed him up out of the gate. With left-hander Jose Suarez on the mound for the Angels, Trevor Story jump-started a three-run second inning with a leadoff double. Alex Verdugo and Christian Vazquez then both reached to fill the bases for Christian Arroyo, who drove in Story on a force out. Back-to-back RBI singles from Bobby Dalbec and Enrique Hernandez allowed Verdugo and Arroyo to score and give the Sox their first lead of the night at 3-2.
Picking things up in the middle of the fifth inning, Jake Diekman received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Taking over for Whitlock with his team trailing by a run, Diekman issued a leadoff walk to Luis Rengifo, who advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored from there on a run-scoring double off the bat of Jo Adell.
The veteran lefty managed to limit the damage to just one run, though, and the Sox immediately got that one run back when Dalbec plated Verdugo on an RBI single a half-inning later.
After Hirokazu Sawamura retired the side in order in the sixth, Boston struck once again in the seventh with Rafael Devers ripping a leadoff double and scoring on a 31-foot RBI single from Story that deflected off the leg of Angels reliever Ryan Tepera.
Sawamura also got the first out in the latter half of the seventh before making way for Austin Davis, who worked his way around a two-out walk to keep things tied at five runs apiece.
Tanner Houck was next up, and he ensured this one would head to extra innings by working a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth and stranding a runner at second base in a scoreless ninth.
With Story in scoring position representing the potential go-ahead run, Vazquez came through by lacing a 96 mph RBI single to right field off Jaime Barria. The speedy Story easily scored from second to give the Sox a 6-5 lead.
Matt Strahm was tasked with keeping the score that way in the bottom of the 10th. He fanned both Jared Walsh and Stassi before getting the pinch-hitting Kurt Suzuki to ground out to Hernandez to seal the win and earn the save.
Hernandez, who started in center field on Tuesday, had moved to shortstop in the ninth inning after Xander Bogaerts was removed from the game due to left shoulder tightness.
So, despite leaving 10 runners on base as a team, the Red Sox came away with another one-run win on Tuesday. That five different relievers combined to surrender just one run in six innings was undoubtedly key.
Next up: Eovaldi vs. Detmers
The Red Sox will look to extend their winning streak to seven consecutive games when they send right-hander Nathan Eovaldi to the mound on Wednesday night. The Angels will counter with left-hander Reid Detmers.
First pitch from Angel Stadium is scheduled for 9:38 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.
(Picture of Christian Vazquez: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)