Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers recognized in American League MVP voting

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts finished ninth in 2022 American League Most Valuable Player Award voting, as revealed by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Thursday night. Third baseman Rafael Devers finished 14th.

Bogaerts received one fourth-place vote, two sixth-place votes, two seventh-place votes, two eighth-place votes, seven ninth-place votes, and five 10th-place votes for a total of 50 points. Devers received one seventh-place vote, one eighth-place vote, and three 10th place votes for a total of 10 points.

Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, who set a new American League record by hitting 62 home runs this season, received 28 of 30 first-place votes en route to winning his first MVP Award. Last year’s winner, Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, finished second while Astros designated hitter/outfielder Yordan Alvarez came in third.

Bogaerts, who — like Judge — is now a free agent, won his fifth career Silver Slugger Award earlier this month after batting .307/.377/.456 with 38 doubles, 15 home runs, 73 RBIs, 84 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 57 walks, and 118 strikeouts over 150 games (631 plate appearances) for the Red Sox this season. The 30-year-old finished in a three-way tie with Cleveland’s Andres Gimenez and Houston’s Justin Verlander for the fifth-highest fWAR total (6.1) in the American League, per FanGraphs.

Devers, who is eligible for free agency following the 2023 campaign, slashed .295/.358/.521 with 42 doubles, one triple, 27 home runs, 88 RBIs, 84 runs scored, three stolen bases, 50 walks, and 114 strikeouts across 141 games (614 plate appearances) for Boston this season. The 26-year-old finished in a two-way tie with Cleveland’s Shane Bieber for the 11th-highest fWAR total (4.9) in the junior circuit.

This marks the fifth straight season in which Bogaerts has received MVP votes. Devers, on the other hand, has now gotten MVP votes in three of the last four seasons dating back to 2019.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Shohei Ohtani steals the show yet again as Red Sox fall to Angels, 5-2, to snap 7-game winning streak

The Red Sox saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end on Thursday night following a 5-2 loss at the hands of the Angels at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.

Boston was unable to complete the four-game sweep of Los Angeles, who put an end to a historic 14-game losing streak with its first win since May 24.

Nick Pivetta and two-way star Shohei Ohtani opposed one another on the mound and traded zeroes through the first four innings of Thursday’s contest.

In the top of the fifth, Franchy Cordero drew a leadoff walk and came into score from third on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Bobby Dalbec. In the bottom half, Ohtani took things into his own hands by crushing a 394-foot two-run home run that came on a 1-1, 92 mph heater from Pivetta at the top of the zone.

Pivetta continued on, but ran into some trouble in the sixth when he issued back-to-back walks to lead off the inning. That prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to go to his bullpen and pull the right-hander in favor of Hirokazu Sawamura.

Sawamura, in turn, recorded the first two outs of the sixth before serving up a back-breaking, three-run homer to Andrew Velazquez that gave the Angels a commanding 5-1 lead.

Pivetta was charged with four of those five runs. In addition to four earned runs, the 29-year-old gave up six hits and two walks over five-plus innings. He also plunked one batter while striking out a season-high of 11. 67 of the 97 pitches he threw went for strikes.

Ohtani, on the other hand, wound up yielding just one earned run over seven strong innings. The 27-year-old phenom finishes the regular season having allowed just one run in 14 innings of work against the Red Sox.

Once Ohtani came out, the Sox responded when Christian Arroyo led off the eighth inning with a line-drive single off Angels reliever Ryan Tepera. Arroyo proceeded to steal second base and scored from there on a 104.5 mph RBI single from Alex Verdugo.

That made it a 5-2 game, which would go on to be Thursday’s final score after Austin Davis and Hansel Robles each tossed a scoreless frame of relief for Boston and Halos closer Raisel Iglesias retired the side in order in the ninth. The Red Sox as a team went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left a total of six runners on base.

With the loss, Boston falls to 30-28 on the season and 6-1 on the west coast road trip that concludes this weekend.

Next up: On to Seattle

The Red Sox will now travel north for a three-game series against the Mariners in Seattle. Veteran lefty Rich Hill will get the start for Boston on Friday night while fellow southpaw Marco Gonzalez will do the same for Seattle.

First pitch from T-Mobile Park is scheduled for 10:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Shohei Ohtani: John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox held in check by Shohei Ohtani in 8-0 shutout loss to Angels

The Red Sox lost their series against the Angels at Fenway Park on Thursday afternoon. Boston fell to Los Angeles by a final score of 8-0 in Thursday’s series finale, thus dropping to 10-16 on the season.

Rich Hill, making his fifth start of the year for the Sox, allowed just one hit and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over a season-high five scoreless innings of work. The veteran left-hander took a perfect game into the fourth before issuing a leadoff walk to Taylor Ward. He then lost his bid for a no-hitter when Shohei Ohtani lifted a one-out single 389 feet single to deep center field that Jackie Bradley Jr. lost in the sun.

With runners on the corners, Hill did not falter and instead fanned Anthony Rendon on five pitches before getting Jared Walsh to pop out to Kevin Plawecki behind home plate. He ended his day by retiring the final three batters he faced in the fifth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 68 (40 strikes) Hill induced three swings-and-misses each with his four-seam fastball, curveball, and slider while the velocity of his pitches ranged from 66.9 to 89.8 mph. The 42-year-old did not factor into Thursday’s decision, though he did lower his ERA on the season to 2.86.

In relief of Hill, Red Sox manager Alex Cora first used Tanner Houck to piggyback off the starter. Houck, in turn, struck out the side in the sixth before running into some trouble in the seventh. After walking Rendon with one out, the right-hander served up a go-ahead two-run home run to Walsh that traveled 344 feet down the right field line and hooked inside the Pesky Pole. It also put Boston in a 2-0 hole going into the seventh-inning stretch.

To that point in the contest, an Enrique Hernandez-less Boston lineup had been held in check by Ohtani, who was making his first career start as a pitcher at Fenway Park on Thursday. The Sox certainly had their chances, though. In the bottom of the third, Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts hit back-to-back two-out singles but were stranded there by J.D. Martinez, who struck out swinging.

Two innings later, Jackie Bradley Jr. led off with a hard-hit double off Ohtani to put a runner in scoring position with no outs. He, too, was left stranded there, as was Martinez in the sixth after he reached base via a one-out double and advanced to third base on an Alex Verdugo groundout.

Ohtani capped off his strong outing by giving up another hit to Bradley Jr. with one out in the seventh, but once again left him on base by getting Plawecki to fly out before punching out Trevor Story for a fourth time.

Houck, meanwhile, came back out for the eighth and allowed the first three Angels he faced to reach on a single, hit by pitch, and single off the Green Monster. With the bases loaded and the infield in, David Fletcher ripped an RBI single to left field to plate a run and keep the line moving. Ohtani did the very same by smoking a 103.7 mph run-scoring single off the left field wall himself. Rendon knocked Houck out of the game with an RBI groundout that gave the Angels a commanding 5-0 lead.

Kutter Crawford, making his first appearance since Sunday, took over for Houck and allowed both of the runners he inherited to score on a two-run single from Walsh before getting out of the inning. The Red Sox went down in order in their half of the eighth before Crawford gave up a solo homer to Brandon Marsh in the ninth.

Down to their final three outs and trailing by a whopping eight runs, Verdugo, Franchy Cordero, and Bobby Dalbec were all retired by Max Meyers to put the finishing touches on an 8-0 shutout loss for Boston. Sox hitters went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base as a team.

Next up: Welcoming in the White Sox

The Red Sox will kick off the final leg of this six-game homestand by welcoming in the White Sox for a three-game series that begins on Friday night. Boston will roll with right-hander Nathan Eovaldi in the opener while Chicago will turn to fellow righty Vince Velasquez.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on Apple TV+.

(Picture of Shohei Ohtani: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox blow late lead, fall to Angels, 10-5, in 10 innings as bullpen melts down

The Red Sox were one out away from securing a series win over the Angels at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. They instead suffered one of their worst losses of the season to date. Boston fell to Los Angeles by a final score of 10-5 in 10 innings to drop to 10-15 on the year.

Matched up against Angels rookie starter Reid Detmers to begin things on Wednesday, the Sox got on the board first in their half of the third inning. Bobby Dalbec and Christian Arroyo led off by drawing back-to-back walks and, as the lineup turned over, Trevor Story drove both of them in on a two-run double down the left field line.

On the other side of things, Garrett Whitlock was once again impressive in his third start and sixth overall appearance of the season for the Sox. The right-hander allowed just two earned runs on two hits and no walks to go along with nine strikeouts over five solid innings of work.

Both runs Whitlock surrendered came in the top half of the fifth. After giving up a one-out double to Jared Walsh, which broke up the bid for a perfect game, and fanning the next batter he faced, the righty served up a game-tying, two-run home run to Max Stassi before recording the final out of the inning.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 78 (50 strikes), Whitlock turned to his sinker 50% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday and induced 11 swings-and-misses with the pitch. The 25-year-old hurler also saw his ERA on the season rise to 1.25.

Shortly after Whitlock’s night came to a close, the Red Sox quickly responded in their half of the fifth. Arroyo took first base after getting plunked by a Detmers curveball and scored all the way from first when Story lifted another RBI double off the Green Monster to put his side up by a run at 3-2.

In relief of Whitlock, Austin Davis got the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora beginning in the top of the sixth. The left-hander punched out each of the first three batters he faced in relatively easy fashion, but surrendered a booming solo shot to Anthony Rendon in the seventh that knotted things back up at three runs apiece.

After Matt Strahm retired the side in order on three groundouts in the eighth, Xander Bogaerts came through with what appeared to be the hit of the night a half-inning later. With veteran reliever Aaron Loup pitching for Los Angeles, Bogaerts crushed a 397-foot home run of his own that cleared the Green Monster. Bogaerts’ second big fly of 2022 left the shortstop’s bat at a scalding 109.3 mph and put the Red Sox ahead 4-3 heading into the ninth.

Needing just three more outs, Hansel Robles was sent in to go for the save. Robles got the first two outs of the inning, but did so while walking the Halos’ boppers in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Cora then went to Jake Diekman to face the left-handed hitting Walsh.

Walsh, in turn, delivered in the clutch for his side by scoring Trout on an RBI single past a diving Story into right field. Diekman proceeded to walk Kurt Suzuki, which put the potential go-ahead run (Ohtani) just 90 feet away from scoring. He escaped any further damage by getting Stassi to fly out to deep center field.

With the chance to walk if off against Angels reliever Ryan Tepera, Christian Vazquez reached base by drawing a one-out walk but was then thrown out at second as part of an inning-ending strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play that occured on a questionable strike three call with Dalbec at the plate.

Regardless, with this contest now headed into extra innings, it was Matt Barnes who was dispatched for the top of the 10th. Barnes, making his first appearance since Saturday, got the first two outs on eight pitches, but — with the automatic runner already at second — then yielded a back-breaking, two-run home run to Walsh that gave the Angels a 6-4 lead.

The Angels only added on from there, as Barnes allowed two more runners to reach base before getting the hook in favor of Hirokazu Sawamura, who gave up a run-scoring single to Rendon as well as three-run homer to Taylor Ward.

That sequence gave Los Angeles a commanding 10-4 advantage. Boston countered with one run of their own on a Jackie Bradley Jr. single in the bottom of the inning, but it was too little, too late as 10-5 would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left six runners on base as a team on Wednesday. They are now 0-3 in games started by Garrett Whitlock and 0-5 in extra-inning games this season. They have also blown a league-leading four saves in the ninth inning of games or later.

Six Red Sox relievers (Davis, Strahm, Robles, Diekman, Barnes, and Sawamura) combined to allow eight runs (seven earned) on six hits (three home runs), four walks, and four strikeouts over five innings pitched.

Next up: Ohtani vs. Hill in finale

The Red Sox will send veteran left-hander Rich Hill to the mound as they still have a chance to salvage a series victory on Thursday afternoon. The Angels will counter with right-hander Shohei Ohtani, who will be making his first-ever start as a pitcher at Fenway Park. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Taylor Ward: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez both homer, Michael Wacha tosses 5 2/3 scoreless innings as Red Sox open homestand with 4-0 victory over Angels

Coming off a brutal 3-7 road trip and an off day on Monday, the Red Sox opened their first homestand of May with a much-needed win over the Angels at Fenway Park. Boston defeated Los Angeles by a final score of 2-0 on Tuesday to improve to 10-14 on the season.

Michael Wacha, making his fifth start of the year for the Sox, impressed by scattering just three hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of work. The veteran right-hander took a perfect game into the third before issuing a pair of two-out walks to Andrew Velazquez and Taylor Ward. He got out of that jam by fanning the dangerous Mike Trout on six pitches.

In the fourth, a leadoff single off the bat of Shohei Ohtani broke up Wacha’s no-hit bid, but the righty did not falter as he got Anthony Rendon to ground into a 5-4-3 double play and Jared Walsh to pop out to Rafael Devers in foul territory.

Moments after making the inning-ending catch, Devers led off the bottom of the fourth by taking Angels starter Noah Syndergaard 437 feet deep to dead center field for his fourth home run of the season. The solo blast left Devers’ bat at a blistering 110.7 mph and gave the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 1-0.

Xander Bogaerts followed by drawing a seven-pitch walk off Syndergaard, advancing to second base on a J.D. Martinez single, and to third on an Alex Verdugo groundout. He then scored on another groundout from Enrique Hernandez that doubled Boston’s advantage.

Given a two-run lead to work with now, Wacha picked up where he left off by inducing another double play in the fifth and recording the first two outs of the sixth. He gave up a two-out single to Trout, who advanced to second on a Devers throwing error and proved to be the last batter Wacha would face.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 60 (42 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler threw 21 four-seam fastballs, 15 changeups, nine cutters, eight sinkers, and seven curveballs. He also lowered his ERA on the season down to 1.38 while improving to 3-0 on the year.

In relief of Wacha, Jake Diekman got the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora to face Ohtani, who he got to line out to Verdugo in left to retire the side. The lefty came back out for the seventh and maneuvered his way around a leadoff walk in an otherwise clean frame.

A half-inning later, Story nearly hit his first home run as a member of the Red Sox, but instead settled for a sacrifice fly off Syndergaard that brought in Franchy Cordero to make it a 3-0 game in favor of the Sox.

After Ryan Brasier struck out two of the three batters he faced in a perfect top of the eighth, Martinez mashed his second home run in as many games as he took Halos reliever Elvis Peguro 402 feet over the Green Monster for his third big fly of the season.

Martinez’s 107 mph laser put Boston up 4-0 heading into the ninth. There, Hirokazu Sawamura — with some defensive help from Bogaerts and Bobby Dalbec — slammed the door on Los Angeles to secure the shutout victory.

Next up: Detmers vs. Whitlock

As planned, right-hander Garrett Whitlock will make his third start of the year for the Red Sox as they go for a series win over the Angels on Wednesday night. The Angels will counter with rookie left-hander Reid Detmers.

First pitch from Fenway Park — weather permitting — is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and Nathan Eovaldi all recognized in American League MVP voting

A trio of Red Sox teammates were recognized in American League Most Valuable Player Award voting on Thursday night, as revealed by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on MLB Network.

While Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani took home AL MVP honors unanimously, Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers finished 11th, shortstop Xander Bogaerts finished 13th, and right-hander Nathan Eovaldi finished 15th.

Devers finished 11th in voting by receiving one fifth-place vote, two sixth-place votes, one seventh-place vote, and eighth 10th-place votes. In total, the 25-year-old netted himself 28 voting points.

A first-time All-Star in 2021, Devers slashed .279/.352/.538 with 37 doubles, one triple, 38 home runs, 113 RBIs, 101 runs scored, five stolen bases, 62 walks, and 143 strikeouts over 156 games spanning 664 plate appearances.

Bogaerts finished 13th in voting after receiving a pair of ninth-place votes and three 10th-place votes, which translates to seven voting points in total. The 29-year-old Aruban was selected to his third career All-Star Game roster this summer.

Over 144 games in what was his ninth season with the Sox, Bogaerts batted .295/.370/.493 to go along with 34 doubles, one triple, 23 home runs, 79 RBIs, 90 runs scored, five stolen bases, 62 walks, and 113 strikeouts in 603 total trips to the plate.

Both Devers and Bogaerts won their respective first and fourth career Silver Slugger Awards last week.

Eovaldi, on the other hand, just finished fourth in American League Cy Young Award voting on Tuesday and now further solidifies what was a breakout campaign in 2021 after receiving one seventh-place vote in the MVP race.

Like Devers, Eovaldi was named an All-Star for the first time in his career earlier this summer. The 31-year-old righty posted posted a 3.75 ERA and 2.79 FIP with 195 strikeouts and 35 walks across 182 1/3 innings of work. Among qualified American League starters this year, he ranked ninth in strikeout rate (25.5%), first in walk rate (4.6%), first in FIP, third in xFIP (3.48), and first in fWAR (5.6), per FanGraphs.

The last Red Sox player to win American League MVP was Mookie Betts, who did so in 2018.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Eduardo Rodriguez allows 4 runs in 5 innings as Red Sox come up short, 5-4, in series finale against Angels

The Red Sox saw their West Coast road trip come to an end in disappointing fashion on Wednesday afternoon, as they fell to the Angels by a final score of 5-4

Eduardo Rodriguez made his 17th start of the season for Boston in Wednesday’s series finale, and he fell victim to some soft contact that landed in the right spots for Los Angeles hitters.

Over five innings of work, the left-hander yielded four runs — all of which were earned — on nine hits and zero walks to go along with five strikeouts on the afternoon.

The Halos got to Rodriguez early, as a pair of leadoff singles from David Fletcher and Shohei Ohtani were followed by an RBI groundout and RBI single off the bats of Jared Walsh and Phil Gosselin, thus putting the Sox in a two-run hole.

The Red Sox lineup, meanwhile, was matched up against Angels starter Andrew Heaney, and while it took until the fourth inning for them to get their first hit off the left-hander, they did get to him in the fifth.

There, three straight one-out base hits from Christian Arroyo, Christian Vazquez, and Bobby Dalbec resulted in the Sox pushing across their first run of the day. Alex Verdugo added on another run by plating Vazquez on another RBI single, and that evened things at two runs apiece.

Rodriguez, however, was not able to keep that stalemate intact for long, with Ohtani and Walsh going back-to-back with a pair of towering solo shots off the lefty in their half of the fifth. Rodriguez did retire the final three batters he faced, but his day was done after the last out of the inning was recorded.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 87 (62 strikes), the 28-year-old’s poor luck on Wednesday can best be defined by the fact that the 19 balls put into play against him had an average exit velocity of 76.5 mph.

Boston was able to trim their deficit from two runs down to one on an Arroyo RBI single in the sixth, but their momentum was halted when Vazquez grounded into a somewhat-controversial inning-ending double play.

With one out and runners at first and second, Vazquez hit a ground ball to Angels second baseman David Fletcher, who then flipped the ball to shortstop Jose Iglesias.

At first glance, it did not appear as though Iglesias made contact with the second base bag for the force out, but the call was confirmed following a replay review.

From there, Hirokazu Sawamura tossed a perfect frame in relief of Rodriguez, though Darwinzon Hernandez served up another solo home run to Walsh in the seventh, putting his side back in another two-run hole at 5-3.

Again, the Sox countered swiftly, with J.D. Martinez lacing a leadoff triple in the top of the eighth off Angels reliever Mike Mayers and Xander Bogaerts promptly driving him in on a run-scoring double to make it a 5-4 game.

Alas, four runs is all Boston could manage in this one, as Mayers retired the next three Red Sox he faced in order before Halos closer Raisel Iglesias punched out the side in the ninth to end things with a final score of 5-4.

With the loss, the Red Sox end their West Coast swing having gone 3-3 and now sit at 54-34 on the season, 2 1/2 games up on the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Next up: Final series before the All-Star break

The Red Sox will enjoy an off-day on Thursday before welcoming the Phillies into town for a three-game series — their last before the All-Star break — at Fenway Park that begins on Friday night.

Right-hander Garrett Richards will get the ball for Boston in the opener, while fellow righty Vince Velazquez will do the same for Philadelphia.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox held in check by Shohei Ohtani, fall to Angels, 5-3

The Red Sox fell victim to the Shohei Ohtani experience and saw their mini two-game winning streak come to a close with a 5-3 loss at the hands of the Angels in Anaheim on Tuesday night.

In a starting pitching matchup that featured two first-time All-Stars in the middle game of this three-game series, it was Ohtani who came out on top against Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.

Los Angeles’ two-way phenom held the Boston offense in check, limiting a typically-potent offense to just two runs on five hits, zero walks, and four strikeouts in seven strong innings of work.

Eovaldi, meanwhile, lasted just 5 2/3 innings, surrendering five runs — all of which were earned on nine hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with nine punchouts on the night at Angel Stadium.

The Sox actually jumped on Ohtani early, with J.D. Martinez bringing in Enrique Hernandez on a sacrifice fly to give his side an early 1-0 lead right away in the first inning.

Alas, Eovaldi gave that run back and then some in his first frame of work, as Ohtani helped his own cause with a game-tying RBI double that was followed by a two-run home run off the bat of Angels catcher Max Stassi with two outs in the inning.

Eovaldi and Ohtani then proceeded to exchange scoreless frames from the beginning of the second up until the start of the sixth, at which point Martinez struck again by driving in Connor Wong, who led off with a hard-hit double for his first career extra-base hit, on a run-scoring single to right field.

That cut the Halos’ lead down to one run at 3-2, and Xander Bogaerts nearly erased that entirely by hitting a deep fly ball to right-center field with two outs that appeared destined to go over the fence, but was instead caught by a leaping Juan Lagares to rob the shortstop of a potentially game-altering two-run homer.

The Angels were able to capitalize on Lagares’ run-saving play in their half of the sixth, as hits from Phil Gosselin and Stassi followed by an RBI groundout from old friend Jose Iglesias made it a 4-2 game.

Eovaldi was chased shortly after that, but the book on his night was not closed until Brandon Workman allowed an inherited runner to score on a Fletcher RBI single, putting the Angels ahead 5-2.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 104 (71 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler end the first half of his 2021 campaign on a sour note by falling to 9-5 on the year while raising his ERA to 3.66.

After Workman recorded the final out of the sixth, the righty also tossed a shutout seventh inning before Yacksel Rios did the same in the eighth.

Down to their final strike with two outs in the ninth, Hunter Renfroe provided the Sox with a little bit of life by crushing his 13th big fly of the year off Angels closer Raisel Iglesias, but Iglesias rebounded by fanning Christian Arroyo to end things with a final score of 5-3.

With the loss, the Red Sox fell to 54-43 on the season and 3-2 on their West Coast Road trip. They currently have a four-game lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Santana removed with left quad injury

Danny Santana, who started at first base for Boston on Tuesday, had to be removed in the seventh inning after he came up limping while running out a ground ball. He was replaced by Bobby Dalbec.

After the game, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said there is a 50/50 chance Santana winds up going on the injured list after he revealed the utility man suffered a left quad injury.

Next up: Rodriguez vs. Heaney

The Red Sox will send left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez to the hill on Wednesday afternoon as they go for the series win over the Angels, who will counter with fellow southpaw Andrew Heaney.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 4:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Shohei Ohtani: Michael Owens/Getty Images)

Christian Arroyo makes impact felt in return as Red Sox hold on to top Angels, 5-4, in dramatic fashion

Christian Arroyo certainly made his impact felt in his first game back with the Red Sox since June 20.

Just hours after being activated from the injured list, Arroyo crushed a solo home run off Angels starter Jose Suarez in his first big-league at-bat in over two weeks.

Arroyo’s fifth homer of the season — a 431-foot blast to left-center field — provided the Sox with the early boost they would need to both spoil Shohei Ohtani’s 27th birthday and secure a series-opening 5-4 victory over the Halos at Angel Stadium on Monday night.

With the win, Boston improves to 54-42 on the campaignand 3-1 on their current West Coast road trip. They, again, remain 4 1/2 games up on the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Devers stays hot with fifth 3-hit game of season

Rafael Devers recently lost two RBI on account of a scoring change made by Major League baseball, but he wasted no time in getting them back on Monday, with interest.

Moments after Arroyo got the Sox on the board first, Devers followed by doubling his side’s early lead with a run-scoring single that brought in Marwin Gonzalez and made it a 2-0 game.

Fast forward to the fourth, and the slugging third baseman struck again, this time taking Angels reliever Dylan Bundy 405 feet deep to right-center field on a towering two-run shot that put Boston ahead 4-1.

Devers, whose fourth-inning homer was his 21st of the year, also singled in the eighth to bring his batting average on the season up to .290.

Santana’s fine fifth inning on both sides of the ball

Danny Santana was not originally in the Sox’ starting lineup on Monday, but he was forced into action when left fielder Marwin Gonzalez exited with right hamstring tightness in the third inning.

Put on the spot right away, Santana came through in his second trip to the plate in the top of the fifth, as he greeted newly-inserted reliever Tony Watson by ripping an RBI single up the middle that brought in Xander Bogaerts from second and made it a 5-1 contest.

After delivering with the run-scoring knock in the top half of the inning, Santana showed off his arm strength in the bottom half by gunning down Jose Rojas at home plate to prevent the Angels from scoring their second run of the frame off Sox starter Martin Perez.

More outfield assists for the best team in baseball in that department

The Red Sox came into the week leading all of baseball in total outfield assists with 26 of them on the season. Even with that number — and what happened in the fifth inning — in mind, the Angels still tried to run on the likes of Santana, Enrique Hernandez, and Hunter Renfroe, and it cost them.

Following Santana’s defensive display, Hernandez followed suit in the sixth when he snuffed out Max Stassi, who was trying to turn a single into a double, at second base for the second out of the inning.

With Santana and Hernandez tacking on two more, the Red Sox have now tallied 28 outfield assists this season to add on to their league lead in that particular category.

Perez the beneficiary of some outstanding defense

Not only did Martin Perez benefit from the arm strength of his outfielders, he also benefitted from their agility as well.

Making his his 17th start of the season for Boston on Monday, Perez ran into some trouble out of the gate by issuing a one-out walk and one-out single in the second inning that resulted in Los Angeles’ first run of the night crossing the plate on a sacrifice fly.

Things would have been worse for Perez were it not for Enrique Hernandez, who robbed Luis Rengifo of a two-run home run by making a leaping grab at the wall in deep center field for the final out of the inning.

The veteran left-hander settled in a bit from there, stringing together two scoreless frames before putting himself in a jam in the bottom half of the fifth.

There, with one out and one run having already scored, Danny Santana prevented the Angels from pushing anything else across by throwing out Jose Rojas at home.

Hernandez proceeded to do the same in the sixth, as he recorded the second out of the frame by gunning down Max Stassi at second, at which point Perez was given the hook by Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 79 (56 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler wound up surrendering two runs (one earned) on eight hits and one walk to go along with three strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of work. He did not factor into the decision, but did lower his ERA on the season to 3.89.

Red Sox bullpen holds on

In relief of Perez, Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, and he got out of the sixth by recording the final two outs of the frame in quick fashion.

Sawamura also came back out for the seventh and got the first two outs there, but not before serving up a solo home run to Rojas that trimmed the Angels’ deficit down to two runs at 5-3.

Josh Taylor was next to be dispatched, and the left-hander got Ohtani to fly out to retire the side and punched out a pair in a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth as well to extend his scoreless appearances streak to 26 consecutive games.

Ottavino vs. Ohtani

With Matt Barnes unavailable, Cora had to turn to right-hander Adam Ottavino to lock things down in the ninth.

A leadoff walk issued to old friend Jose Igleasias would come back to bite Ottavino, as he allowed the speedster to score on an RBI single off the bat of Rojas.

David Fletcher singled to advance the potential tying run into scoring position, and that brought the vaunted Ohtani up to the plate in a pivotal spot.

Ottavino, who infamously once said he would ‘strike out Babe Ruth every time’ he faced him, was tasked with going up against the modern-day Ruth in the form of the two-way phenom that is Ohtani.

After falling behind in the count at 3-1, Ottavino got Ohtani to sharply ground out to a perfectly-positioned Arroyo in shallow right field to preserve the 5-4 victory for his side while also notching his seventh save of the year.

Next up: Eovaldi vs. Ohtani

Tuesday’s pitching matchup between the Red Sox and Angels will feature a pair of All-Stars going at it, with right-hander Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for Boston and Ohtani, also a right-hander, doing the same for Los Angeles.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 9:38 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Shohei Ohtani and Christian Arroyo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Matt Barnes gives up two-run home run to Shohei Ohtani, blows first save of season as Red Sox fail to close out series against Angels in 6-5 loss

The Red Sox were one out away from securing a three-game sweep over the Angels at Fenway Park on Sunday, but fell short of doing so in heart-breaking fashion.

With two outs and the bases empty in the top of the ninth inning, Sox closer Matt Barnes got a struggling Mike Trout to hit a pop fly to right field for what looked to be the final out of the game.

Rather than fall into a Red Sox fielder’s glove, though, the 75.9 mph bloop found a patch of grass and landed between right fielder Marwin Gonzalez, center fielder Hunter Renfroe, and second baseman Michael Chavis, all of whom were playing Trout in a shift.

Representing the tying run in a 5-4 game, Trout’s single brought Shohei Ohtani to the plate, who proceeded to wrap a go-ahead, two-run home run around Pesky’s Pole in right field to give the Angels a 6-5 lead.

Barnes was charged with his first blown save of the season as the Red Sox would go on to fall to 25-17 on the year overall and 13-12 at home.

Plawecki, Devers lead comeback

Well before a drama-filled ninth inning, the Sox found themselves in a four-run hole early on against Los Angeles.

Matched up against veteran left-hander Jose Quintana, the bottom third of Boston’s lineup provided the first offensive jolt of the day when Jonathan Arauz drove in Marwin Gonzalez from second on an RBI double — and his first hit of the season — in the bottom of the third.

Fast forward to the fifth, and the bottom of the order took charge once more, this time with Kevin Plawecki clubbing his first home run of the season 389 feet over the Green Monster to cut the Halos’ lead to two runs.

Arauz and leadoff man Michael Chavis both singled with one out in between a pitching change that saw righy Aaron Slegers take over for Quintana, which set up Rafael Devers in a prime scoring spot.

On the fourth pitch he saw from Slegers — an 0-2, 93 mph fastball — Devers crushed it 400 feet to right field for his 11th big fly of the season. The three-run blast, which had an exit velocity of over 104 mph, put the Sox ahead by a run at 5-4.

Eovaldi allows four runs over five innings, Martinez notches outfield assist

The reason the Red Sox were trailing by four runs as early as they were was due in part to the struggles Nathan Eovaldi endured in his second inning of work Sunday.

After retiring the side rather easily in the first, the veteran right-hander plunked the first hitter he faced in the second in Anthony Rendon. That would prove to be costly for Eovaldi, as he wound up surrendering four runs on four hits and a walk in the frame.

Despite the early troubles, however, Eovaldi was able to settle in to the point where he sat down eight of the final 11 Angels he faced.

He did give up a two-out double to Jared Walsh in his final inning of work that very well could have scored Ohtani all the way from first, but J.D. Martinez prevented that from happening when he threw a dart from left field and Kevin Plawecki snuffed out the two-way phenom at home plate.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 87 (63 strikes), Eovaldi turned to his four-seam fastball 51% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing four swings-and-misses and topping out at 99.3 mph with the pitch.

Hit with the no-decision while raising his ERA on the season to 4.50, the 31-year-old’s next start should come against the Phillies on Saturday.

Red Sox bullpen takes over

In relief of Eovaldi, Phillips Valdez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in the sixth inning. The right-hander tossed a scoreless frame, while left-hander Josh Taylor got the call for the seventh and put away the only three hitters he faced in order.

From there, Adam Ottavino issued a one-out single and walk in the top of the eighth before recording the second out and making way for Barnes.

Barnes escaped the inning and stranded both runners he inherited by getting Jose Iglesias to line out to right field. He then gave up that two-run homer to Ohtani in the ninth.

Next up: Off day, then six-game road trip

The Red Sox will enjoy an off day on Monday and head down to Dunedin, Fla. to open up a three-game series against the 22-17 Blue Jays on Tuesday night.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez is slated to get the start for Boston, and fellow southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu will do the same for Toronto.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:37 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Fenway Park: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)