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The Red Sox just kept on rolling Wednesday. They beat the Angels 7-5 to take a 9-0 edge in the season series, with the final game coming Thursday. It didn’t take the Sox long to take command, as Dustin Pedroia walked, stole 2nd, and advanced to 3rd on a throwing error in the 1st, and later scored on Adrian Beltre’s single. He also loaded the bases with a single the following inning, but unfortunately nothing came of it.
But the Angels weren’t ready to roll over just yet; Mike Napoli led off the 3rd with a solo shot. Mind you, this is a guy who has had some serious problems connecting with the ball lately. Bill Hall tied the game in the bottom of the frame with a homer of his own, making it 2-2 for those of you who are keeping track.
Next up was a 5th inning filled with power, heartbreak, and joy. After two singles, John Lackey’s quality start bid was ruined with a home run from Alberto Callaspo. Three straight hits of any sort are not what a pitcher needs, particularly when all those runners score. But Scott Kazmir found it difficult to hold a lead, surrendering two more runs on a Victor Martinez double and Adrian Beltre home run, making it 5-4 Angels.
The real tough inning for the Angels came in the 7th, when the Sox loaded the bases with one out. Kevin Jepsen, in for Anaheim, had already thrown a wild pitch that didn’t get far enough away to plate a run, but threw another one with the bags loaded that did score a run, tying the game at 5-5. With a base open, J.D. Drew was intentionally walked, then Daniel Nava was hit by a pitch to give Boston the lead, before Ryan Kalish grounded into a double play. Boston now led 6-5 after that costly walk.
The Angels drew two walks in the 8th, but a sensational dive by Nava ended that threat. With another huge insurance run added through patient hitting and sacrificing, Jonathan Papelbon ended the game by striking out the side in 1-2-3 fashion.
Nava got the RBI bean to give the Sox the lead, and the diving catch? That’s the kind of talent you would take down to South Beach to play with the Miami Heat.
His damaged was mostly localized to long-balls, but you can’t have that if you want to win a title, plus less than 10 hits overall would have been nice. The no walks were nice, though.
W: John Lackey (11-7)
L: Kevin Jepsen (2-3)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (30)