In a battle of starting pitchers who both own records that are not quite indicative of their performances to this point in 2010, it was former Angels' ace John Lackey that ended up outdueling the current ace, Jared Weaver, earning his 10th win of the season -- and earn it, he did.
In his first appearance in Angels Stadium as a member of the Boston Red Sox, Lackey labored through 7 1/3 innings, surrendering just a pair of runs on seven hits and a walk.
The chorus of boos that met Lackey on the mound in the game's first inning wasn't the ideal welcome, but it sure seemed to provide an extra bit of motivation for the Red Sox's starter. "I mean, you know, nobody wants to get booed like that," Lackey said. "[The] scoreboard talks the loudest."
On a night where the offense was at the mercy of Weaver throughout the first six frames, it was with two outs in the top half of the seventh when the bats finally broke through.
Darnell McDonald, a late replacement for J.D. Drew (hamstring) prior to the start of Tuesday night's game, set the table for the top of the lineup with a two-out walk. The top of the lineup and middle-infield tandem, Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie, proved very productive on the night (5-10, 2 R, 2 RBI) and never more so than in this instance.
After Scutaro singled, advancing McDonald to third and putting runners on the corners for the recently-reactivated Lowrie, Jed collected his second double of the night; this one plating both runners and turning Boston's 0-1 deficit into a 2-1 advantage.
The offense added another the following inning after Beltre doubled in David Ortiz, who reached base via leadoff walk, to make it 3-1 in favor of the Red Sox.
Bobby Abreau helped the Angels negate Boston's run in the top half of the eighth by launching a one-out solo home run off of Lackey in the bottom half; Abreau would be Lackey's final batter of the night.
Suddenly the Red Sox lead was cut in half and the game was handed over to the bullpen -- a less-than-comfortable situation, especially on this particular road trip.
However, for the second consecutive night, Boston's bats weren't content with a one-run lead entering the final inning. Again centered around Scutaro -- whose double with one out in the ninth off Angels' closer Brian Fuentes served as spark plug -- the Red Sox provided another run of padding for closer Jonathan Papelbon; that is after Daniel Bard manuevered around the meat of the opposing lineup in the eighth, earning his 23rd hold of the season.
Papelbon produced a non-eventful ninth, earning his 24th save of the season and helping the Red Sox again double-up the home team -- this time by a score of 4-2 -- to earn their first series victory of 2010's second half.
Josh Beckett (1-1, 6.66 ERA) and his satanic earned run average will take the mound for Boston in the finale of this three-game set Wednesday afternoon at Angels Stadium; opposing him for the LA Angels of A will be Joel Pineiro (10-7, 4.18 ERA).