After snapping their mini three-game winning streak with a 10-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday, the Red Sox rallied on Sunday and topped the Halos, taking the series with a tight 4-3 victory to end the last west coast swing on a positive note and improve to 74-63 on the season.
Making his 22nd second start of the season for Boston and first since August 4th was David Price, who was activated from the injured list earlier Sunday after missing nearly four weeks with a left wrist issue.
Tossing just two full innings in his first in-game action of September, the left-hander kept the Angels off the scoreboard while giving up one hit and one walk to go along with two strikeouts on the afternoon.
A two-out double off the bat of Brian Goodwin in the first and a one-out walk drawn by Kole Calhoun in the second. Those are the only two hitters Price allowed to reach base in this one.
Goodwin was stranded at second, as Price got Albert Pujols to fly out to right to end the first, and Calhoun was also stranded at second after swiping the bag in between two straight Angels flyouts induced by Price to retire the side in the bottom half of the second.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 45 (26 strikes), the 34-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball more than 31% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing one swing and miss and topping out at 91.7 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.
Ultimately hit with the no-decision due to the length of his outing, control was a bit of an issue for Price in this one. Out of the eight batters he faced, four got into three-ball counts and two got into two-ball counts. He’ll look to continue to shake off the rust in his next time out, which should come against the New York Yankees on Saturday back at Fenway Park.
In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen was dealt another long day of work, but they were better prepared for that this time around with rosters expanding on Sunday.
The recently called up Travis Lakins got the first call to begin the third, and he yielded one run on three straight two-out hits in the inning, and another on a leadoff walk and sacrifice fly in the fourth to cut his side’s lead down to two runs at 4-2.
From there, Ryan Weber scattered one hit and one walk over two scoreless frames of relief in the fifth and sixth, Hector Velazquez worked his way around a Mike Trout leadoff walk with the help of an unassisted double play turned by Sam Travis on a liner from Goodwin in a clean seventh, and Matt Barnes served up a leadoff solo shot to Justin Upton before sitting down the next three Angels he faced in order to preserve the 4-3 lead.
That made way for Brandon Workman in the ninth, and he plunked Trout with two outs in the inning to bring the winning run to the plate in the form of Goodwin, but held on by getting the Angels outfielder to fly out to Jackie Bradley Jr. in center to notch his 10th save and secure the one-run win.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar opponent in Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney, someone who held them to one run in less than four innings back on August 10th.
Kicking off the scoring right away in the first for the third consecutive day, Xander Bogaerts got his side on the board with a one-out, one-run single through the left side of the infield to bring in Mookie Betts, who led the inning off with a single and advanced twice on two wild pitches, from third. 1-0.
Fast forward to the third, and Bogaerts struck again, this time following up a one-out Rafael Devers single with a two-run home run hit 418 feet to dead center off a 1-1, 84 MPH changeup on the bottom half of the zone from Heaney for his 31st of the season.
On the very next pitch thrown by Heaney, a red-hot J.D. Martinez provided some power of his own, depositing a 77 MPH curveball on the inner half of the plate 411 feet into the seats in left field.
Martinez’s 34th big fly of the year and sixth of this road trip gave the Sox a commanding 4-0 lead, and after the Angels made things somewhat interesting in the end, 4-3 would go on to be Sunday’s final score.
Some notes from this win:
From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:
Xander Bogaerts’ last 15 games: .371/.443/.790 with six homers and 15 RBI.
J.D. Martinez’s last 30 games: .389/.482/.770 with 12 homers and 33 RBI.
With the Oakland Athletics and Cleveland Indians losing, and the Tampa Bay Rays winning on Sunday, the Red Sox currently sit five games behind Cleveland for the second American League Wild Card spot.
The Red Sox finished their last west coast road trip of the season by going 6-2 and now have just 25 regular season games remaining on the year.
Next up for the Red Sox, it’s an off day on Monday back in Boston before opening up a seven-game homestand against two of the three best teams in the American League in the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees.
Right-hander Rick Porcello will get the ball for Boston in the opener against Minnesota. The Twins have yet to name a starter.
Porcello is coming off a solid month of August in which he posted a 4.00 ERA and .233 batting average against over his last five starts and 27 innings pitched.
The last time he matched up against these Twins came on June 17th at Target Field, where the 30-year-old hurled seven scoreless innings in a game the Sox won by a final score of 2-0 and eventually took the series at two games to one.
First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to start another winning streak.