The Red Sox overcame a pair of deficits to pick up their second consecutive win over the Angels on Saturday afternoon. Boston defeated Los Angeles by a final score of 9-7 at Fenway Park to improve to 7-8 on the season.
Nick Pivetta, making his third start of the year for the Sox, was not at his sharpest. The right-hander surrendered six earned runs on five hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with four strikeouts over four-plus innings of work.
Four of those runs came on one swing of the bat in the top of the first. After loading the bases with a pair of two-out walks, Pivetta served up a 385-foot grand slam to Gio Urshela to put the Red Sox in an early 4-0 hole.
Boston quickly responded in the latter half of the first. With Tyler Anderson starting for Los Angeles, Rob Refsnyder reached base on a two-out double to deep center field that was just out of Mike Trout’s reach. That brought Rafael Devers to the plate for the first time, and he came through by clubbing a two-run shot over the Green Monster for his seventh home run of the season already.
Devers’ 410-foot blast cut the deficit in half at 4-2. Two innings later, Justin Turner made it a one-run game by scoring from third when Devers grounded into a 6-3 double play. In the fourth, the Red Sox were able to leapfrog the Angels in somewhat surprising fashion.
Connor Wong ignited the two-out rally by ripping a 100.2 mph double off the Monster. Yu Chang — who was 0-for-17 at the plate to begin the season coming into the fourth inning — followed by taking a 1-0, 88.9 mph fastball from Anderson and depositing it off the DraftKings sign in left field for his first home run in a Red Sox uniform.
Chang’s go-ahead, two-run shot put Boston up, 5-4. After Anderson put Alex Verdugo (single) and Turner (walk on base), Refsnyder added to the lead with an RBI single that drove in Verdugo from second to make it a 6-4 contest going into the fifth.
To that point, it appeared as though Pivetta had settled in by tossing three straight scoreless frames. But the righty ran into more trouble in the top of the fifth by giving up a leadoff double to the vaunted Trout. Shohei Ohtani moved Trout over to third with a single and Anthony Rendon plated him with a base hit of his own.
With his pitch count already at 99 (57 strikes), Pivetta was given the hook by manager Alex Cora in favor of Kaleb Ort out of the bullpen. Ort fanned Hunter Renfroe for the first out before giving up a softly-hit game-tying RBI single to Urshela. He escaped any further damage by retiring the next two batters he faced.
Richard Bleier took over for Ort in the sixth and immediately plunked the first batter he faced in Matt Thaiss. The lefty then got Taylor Ward to ground into a force out at second base. Ward, however, reached base safely and — after advancing to second on a wild pitch — came into score on a two-out RBI single from Ohtani.
The Angels took a 7-6 lead on Ohtani’s second hit of the day and that is where the score would remain after John Schreiber and Ryan Brasier each worked a scoreless inning of relief. The bottom of the eighth is where things got interesting.
Matched up against veteran reliever Ryan Tepera, Enrique Hernandez led off with a groundball single. The pinch-hitting Raimel Tapia then appeared to line out to left for what would have been the first out of the frame, but he was instead awarded first base after home plate umpire Cory Blaser ruled that Tapia’s bat made contact with the glove of Thaiss behind the plate.
Two batters later, catcher’s interference was called again while the pinch-hitting Reese McGuire was at the plate. That unique sequence of events filled the bases with one out for Chang, who delivered yet again with a go-ahead, two-run single through the left side of the infield. Both Hernandez and Tapia scored on the play. Refsnyder provided some added insurance later in the inning by drawing a bases-loaded walk.
Taking a two-run lead into the ninth, Kenley Jansen sealed the 9-7 victory for the Red Sox by recording his second save of the series and his fourth of the season overall.
Next up: Detmers vs. Whitlock
The Red Sox will look to take this four-game series from the Angels with another win on Sunday afternoon. Right-hander Garrett Whitlock will get the start for Boston opposite left-hander Reid Detmers for Los Angeles.
First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Yu Chang: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)