Rick Porcello Gives up Two Home Runs, One of Which Being Mike Trout’s First at Fenway Park, as Red Sox Get Blown out by Angels

After blowing out the Los Angeles Angels in a 16-4 victory on Friday night, the Red Sox saw their two-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday, as they fell to the Halos by a final score of 12-4 to drop back down to 62-57 on the season.

Making his 24th start of the season for Boston was Rick Porcello, who came into the weekend fresh off his best outing in weeks in his last time out against the Kansas City Royals.

Working into the sixth inning this time around, the right-hander surrendered five runs, all of which were earned, on five hits and zero walks to go along with three strikeouts on the afternoon.

The first three of of those Angels runs came right away in the top half of the first inning, when for the second game in a row, a three-run home run got Los Angeles on the board first.

This one came courtesy of Justin Upton following a leadoff single from Kole Calhoun and one-out double from Shohei Ohtani.

On the fourth pitch he saw from Porcello, Ohtani unloaded on a 1-2, 93 MPH heater and wrapped it around Pesky’s Pole for his seventh home run of the season.

All was not looking well for Porcello early on, but the New Jersey native settled in nicely after serving up that bomb by stringing together 14 consecutive outs from the top of the first until the middle of the fifth.

Unfortunately for Boston though, Calhoun broke up that string with a leadoff single in the sixth, and Mike Trout followed that up by doing something he had yet to do in his career before Saturday, that being hit a home run at Fenway Park.

Yes, it took 22 games at Fenway to do so, but Trout clearly liked the first pitch he saw from his fellow statesman, a 90 MPH fastball down the heart of the plate, in his third at-bat of the day, and he deposited it 428 feet over the Green Monster.

Trout’s 39th homer of the year put the Angels up 5-1, and Porcello’s evening quickly came to a close as the two-time American League MVP was making the jog back to his dugout after rounding the bases.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 75 (54 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his two-seam fastball nearly 35% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing three swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.8 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 21 times while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately falling to 10-9 while inflating his ERA on the season up to 5.67, Porcello did not pitch poorly on Saturday. It’s just that the two biggest mistakes he made went for long home runs with men already on base. He’ll look to re-gain that Kansas City form in his next time out, which should come against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.

In relief of Porcello, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez entered the sixth with the bases empty and three outs to get, and he got those three outs while working his way around a walk as well.

The seventh inning is where this contest fell apart for the Red Sox. Hernandez came back out for his second frame of work with his team in a three-run hole.

Despite the decently positive results in the sixth, the 22-year-old lost control in the seventh, as he allowed the Luis Rengifo, Kevan Smith, Wilfredo Tovar, and Calhoun to all reach base without recording an out.

Tovar drove in Rengifo on third with an RBI single, and Calhoun drew a walk on five pitches to fill the bases, which ended up being the point where Hernandez could no longer continue.

Instead, Hector Velazquez was inserted into this particular jam, and he proceeded to bean the first man he faced in Trout, digging the hole even deeper at 7-2.

A two-run single from Ohtani and sacrifice fly off the bat of Upton increased the Angels’ lead to eight runs, and David Fletcher plated a pair despite not recording an RBI on a single that got past Sam Travis in left field, which in turn allowed Ohtani and Matt Thaiss to score and make it a 12-2 game.

From that point, Velazquez got the final two outs of the seventh without allowing another run to score, while Ryan Weber retired six of the eight hitters he faced over two scoreless frames of relief in the eighth and ninth to hold the Angels at 12 runs.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney, another former Miami Marlins prospect who had been out since July 16th due to inflammation in his throwing elbow.

Starting the scoring in the bottom half of the third inning, a Jackie Bradley Jr. HBP and Mookie Betts single that Upton misplayed in left field put runners in scoring position with no outs for the middle-part of Boston’s order.

Xander Bogaerts was unable to do anything, as he flew out to shallow right field, but J.D. Martinez was able to load the bases by taking a 1-2, 80 MPH curveball off his left foot.

That HBP brought Sam Travis to the plate in a prime run-scoring spot, and he managed to bring Bradley Jr. in from third on a sacrifice fly to left to cut the early deficit down to two runs at 3-1.

Still with runners at first and second, Christian Vazquez killed any shot of extending the rally by flying out to Upton in left to end the inning.

In the fourth, back-to-back two-out singles from Sandy Leon and Bradley Jr. set up Mookie Betts nicely against new Angels reliever Taylor Cole, but all the reigning American League MVP could do was fly out to right for the third and final out.

Fast forward to the sixth, with Brock Holt at second following a one-out double, Bradley Jr. at first following a two-out walk and former Red Sox prospect Ty Buttrey on the mound for Los Angeles, Betts came through this time with a line-drive RBI double to score Holt from second and trim the Halos’ lead to three runs at 5-2.

5-2 was the closest the Sox got though, as the Angels exploded for seven runs of their own in their half of the seventh.

Travis and Michael Chavis responded in the bottom half of the frame with a solo homer and run-scoring groundout off of JC Ramirez to make it a 12-4 contest, but that would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Saturday. They left 11 men on base as a team.

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

So, the mini two-game winning streak for the Red Sox has come to an end. They’ll look to close out this six-game homestand with a series win over the Angels on Sunday afternoon before heading to Cleveland.

Right-hander Andrew Cashner is set to get the ball for Boston, while left-hander Patrick Sandoval will do the same for Los Angeles.

Since coming over from the Baltimore Orioles last month, Cashner has taken the loss in four of his first five starts with the Red Sox. He has posted a 7.53 ERA over 28 2/3 innings of work in that span.

In his career against the Angels, the 32-year-old owns a lifetime 3.27 ERA and .259 batting average against over six total appearances (three starts) and 22 innings pitched.

Sandoval, meanwhile, will be making his firs career big league start in his second appearance after yielding two runs over five innings of relief in his big league debut against the Cincinnati Reds this past Monday.

Ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the Angels’ farm system, Sandoval, 22, posted a 5.71 ERA and .290 batting average against over 19 starts between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake before getting called up on August 5th.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.

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RECAP: JD Martinez Makes History as #RedSox Halt Angels Comeback Attempt in 9-6 Win.

In a game that took exactly four hours complete, the Red Sox found themselves alone in first place in the American League East by the end of Wednesday night. It took a while to get there, but at the halfway point of the season in terms of games played, no team in Major League Baseball has more wins than the Red Sox.

Making his 17th start of the season last night, Rick Porcello was certainly not at his best in this one. The righty pitched into the sixth inning for the sixth time in a row, but yielded four runs, all earned, on eight hits and two free passes while striking out five.

Things were going decently smooth for the Red Sox hurler up until his fifth frame of work. With a six run lead to work with, you would figure that Porcello, who is arguably at his best when pitching with a lead, would cruise to his 10th winning decision of the year. Instead, he gave up a solo shot to the first batter he saw in the inning in ex-teammate Ian Kinsler.

That homer gave the Angels just their second run of the series up until that point and cut the Red Sox lead to five runs. An inning later, that lead shrunk some more when, after recording the first out of the inning on three pitches, three straight Angels reached base off of Porcello, with the last one being a three-run jack off the bat of catcher Martin Maldonado. 6-4 game now.

In my mind, this was the turning point of the game. Easy to say I know, but up until that point, it appeared as if the Red Sox had this thing in the bag. They have stomped on the Angels in all of their meetings this season, and it looked like we were headed in that direction once again last night up until that home run.

Porcello’s night would come to an end after he followed up that homer by getting outfielder Michael Hermosillo to ground out to short for the second out of the sixth.

Finishing with 104 pitches (66 strikes), the New Jersey native topped out at 93.4 MPH on his four-seam fastball in the first inning. He’ll miss this upcoming series against the Yankees in New York, but expect Porcello to bounce back in his next time out against the Washington Nationals on Monday.

In relief of Porcello, Heath Hembree got the first call of the Red Sox bullpen. Entering the game with two outs and the bases empty, Hembree retired the only batter he faced on three pitches to end the top half of the sixth.

Joe Kelly was next up for the beginning of the seventh, and he greeted the Angels by allowing four straight batters to reach base after recording the first out of the inning. Two singles from Justin Upton and Albert Pujols put runners on first and third with one out.

Kelly had the opportunity to turn a double play after Luis Valbuena grounded a comebacker right to him, but the Red Sox flamethrower made an awful throw to Xander Bogaerts covering second base, which allowed the ball to roll into the outfield and Justin Upton easily scored from third.

Now with Andrelton Simmons at the plate, who had already collected two hits on the night, Kelly could not sneak a 88 MPH slider by the Angels shortstop, as he drove in Pujols from second on an RBI double to knot this thing up at six runs a piece.

The Red Sox would escape any further damage thanks to two clutch strikeouts to retire the side in the top half of the seventh. The first coming from Kelly against Kole Calhoun for the second out of the inning and the second coming from Matt Barnes against Martin Maldonado for the final out.

Speaking of Barnes, the UCONN product came back out for the eighth inning as well, this time with a two run lead to work with. Unfortunately for him, sandwiched in between the first two outs of the frame were an E5 committed by Rafael Devers and a six pitch walk to Mike Trout.

That put the Angels in an ideal scoring spot, so Alex Cora made the bold decision and turned to his closer in the eighth inning.

In a rare situation, Craig Kimbrel got his night started by loading the bases after throwing a wild pitch and walking Albert Pujols.

The drama ensued into the next at bat with Luis Valbuena at the plate. After getting ahead in the count with a first pitch strike, Kimbrel missed three straight times to move the count to 3-1. Thankfully, the other Red Sox flamethrower rebounded by getting the next call in his favor on what could have been ball four, then got Valbuena swinging on a 98 MPH heater to retire the side.

Coming back out for the ninth, Kimbrel had a much easier go at it, as he retired the side in order to pick up his 23rd save of the season, the first for him since June 14th.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup had their way against another Angels starting pitcher in lefty Andrew Heaney.

Going off for three home runs in the second inning, Eduardo Nunez got the scoring started by blasting his fifth of the season to lead things off.

After Rafael Devers reached first on a single, Sandy Leon drove him in along with himself on his third homer of the year.

Four batters later, with runners on first and third, JD Martinez capped off the home run frenzy by mashing his 25th big fly of the season, making him the first player in Red Sox history to hit as many as 25 home runs before the first of July.

Heading into the third inning with an early six run lead, the bats went quiet for a bit. There was a time in the bottom of the fifth where it looked like another rally was about to take shape when Eduardo Nunez led the inning off on what should have been an infield single.

The original ruling was an out, but after the replay from NESN, it was pretty clear that Albert Pujols missed the tag and the Red Sox challenged it. I don’t know what they saw in Hoboken, but after the review, Nunez was ruled out. So, what’s the point of replay review if the call ends up being wrong AFTER the review? Very confusing.

Anyway, once the Angels stormed back to tie things up in the top of the seventh, the Red Sox lineup responded by tacking on two of their own in the bottom half of the inning.

With two outs, a walk drawn by Eduardo Nunez and back-to back RBI knocks for Rafael Devers and Sandy Leon put some distance between the Red Sox and Angels, and they would not have to look back.

In the ninth, a wild pitch with Mitch Moreland at the plate allowed JD Martinez to score from third after he reached base on a force out. Unfortunately, the Angels pitcher who slid into home trying to get the out, Jake Jewell, took a nasty tumble and landed awkwardly on the right handle. I won’t share the video, but I wish him the best.

On a less somber note, here are some notes from this win:

JD Martinez has already hit more home runs this season (25) than anyone on the Red Sox had in 2017 (Mookie Betts led the team with 24).

The 6-9 hitters in the Red Sox lineup (Nunez, Devers, Leon, and Bradley Jr.) went 7/15 with two home runs and five RBI last night.

With the series already in hand, the Red Sox will look for the sweep later tonight before a huge series against the Yankees this weekend. Brian Johnson gets the start in Boston in place of the injured Steven Wright. It will be his first start since April 2nd when he gave up one run in six innings pitched against the Marlins in Miami. He’ll be matched up against Angels rookie Jaime Barria, who owns a 3.40 ERA in 10 starts this season. First pitch of the finale is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.