Garrett Whitlock, Justin Turner power Red Sox to 2-1 win over Angels

Behind a strong start from Garrett Whitlock and one swing of the bat from Justin Turner, the Red Sox won their third straight over the Angels on Sunday afternoon. Boston defeated Los Angeles by a final score of 2-1 at Fenway Park to get back to .500 at 8-8 on the season.

Whitlock, making his second start of the year for the Sox, put forth a superb effort. The right-hander allowed just one run on three hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over seven fast-paced innings of work.

That lone run came in the top of the second. After Anthony Rendon led off with a double and moved up to third, Whitlock surrendered an RBI single to Brandon Drury to give the Angels an early 1-0 lead. The inning ended shortly thereafter, as Connor Wong gunned down Drury at second base to retire the side.

Fast forward to the bottom of the third, and Alex Verdugo reached base on a one-out single off Angels starter Reid Detmers. Verdugo promptly stole second base to put a runner in scoring position for Turner, who delivered by crushing a 386-foot two-run shot over the Green Monster for his first home run in a Red Sox uniform.

Turner’s blast, which left his bat at 103.2 mph, put Boston up, 2-1. Whitlock then took over by retiring 11 of the final 12 batters he faced from the beginning of the fourth through the middle of the seventh, at which point his day came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (61 strikes), Whitlock becomes the first Red Sox starter to pitch into the sixth (and seventh) inning of a game this season. The 26-year-old hurler also picked up his first winning decision of the year while lowering his ERA to 4.50.

With six more outs to get, Red Sox manager Alex Cora was put in a precarious position in regards to his bullpen. Because Kenley Jansen (who had pitched two straight days) and Chris Martin (who had just been placed on the injured list) were both unavailable, Cora turned to Kaleb Ort in the eighth.

Ort gave up a leadoff single to Gio Urshela and issued a one-out walk to Drury. After getting Logan O’Hoppe to fly out, Ort ended the inning by picking off the pinch-running Brett Phillips at second base. Ryan Brasier followed by striking out Mike Trout and getting Shohei Ohtani to fly out as part of a 1-2-3 ninth inning to end it.

Brasier’s first save of the season put the finishing touches on a a Red Sox win that took all of one hour and 57 minutes to complete.

Yoshida returns to lineup

After missing the last four games with light hamstring tightness, Masataka Yoshida returned to Boston’s lineup on Sunday. Dropped down to sixth in the order and serving as the Sox’ designated hitter, Yoshida went 0-for-2 with a strikeout. He was also hit by a pitch in the second inning.

Wong strikes again

By snuffing out Brandon Drury at second base to end the top of the second, Connor Wong has now thrown out four of six possible base stealers to begin the year.

Next up: Bello goes up against Ohtani in season debut

Brayan Bello will come off the injured list and make his season debut for the Red Sox in Monday’s series finale against fellow right-hander Shohei Ohtani and the Angels.

First pitch from Fenway Park on Marathon Monday is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Justin Turner: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)


Author: Brendan Campbell

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

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