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The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim seem to be a team of bad luck lately. On Monday night in Dan Haren’s debut, the righty was forced to leave the game early after a line drive hit his pitching forearm. The bullpen pitched well but was taxed, and the Red Sox won.
Wednesday afternoon, the Red Sox were going for a sweep and were sending a rusty Josh Beckett to the hill. The Angels countered with former Sox reliever Joel Pineiro…oh wait…never mind. Pineiro was scratched right before gametime with a strained muscle in his side, knocking him out for 6-8 weeks. In his place was Scot Shields, who lasted only 1.2 innings after allowing two home runs, one to Adrian Beltre and one to Bill Hall.
Josh Beckett, meanwhile, had a strong second outing in his return from the disabled list. He went seven innings and allowed three runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts, lowering his season ERA to 6.33. He went pitch-for-pitch with a slew of Angels relievers, and the game was tied 3-3 when he stepped off the mound to end the bottom half of the seventh inning.
In the top of the eighth, Fernando Rodney came on to preserve the tie for the Angels. He promptly allowed two walks and a bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Marco Scutaro, of all people, then slugged a grand slam to left to give the Red Sox the 7-3 lead. Surprising scoreless innings by Manny Delcarmen and Ramon Ramirez helped the Sox win it by that score, improving to 7-0 against LAA this season.
The win also marked the first time since 2007 that the Angels were swept in a series at home, a stretch of 80 series.
Scutaro has done everything asked of him this season, including stay healthy. He could have a slicker glove at shortstop, but he gets to more balls than most, so that can explain some of his errors. His 3-4 effort with a grand slam in Wednesday brought his season average to .281.
Tough to pick on anybody when every Sox player reached base, but I suppose McDonald could have had a better day. He finished 0-5 with a walk out of the No. 2 hole in the order. Not good.
W: Josh Beckett (2-1)
L: Fernando Rodney (4-1)