The Red Sox have surged back to sweep the Angels and eek out a winning record on their West Coast road trip thanks to a strong start from Josh Beckett, and a huge offensive night from Marco Scutaro.
The Red Sox got off to a quick start against Scott Shields, the first man out of the bullpen after starter Joel Pineiro was scratched with a strained oblique just before the game. Adrian Beltre put the first run on the board with a solo shot to left, and was almost followed up by Jeremy Hermida, who put one on the warning track in straightaway center. Bill Hall did not come up short, however, wrapping one around the foul pole to put the Red Sox on top 2-0.
Josh Beckett, making his second start back from the disabled list, has a line that looks a lot worse than it should. By most accounts, he should have had at least seven shutout innings, but as has been the case lately with all the replacement players, the defense let him down. First, in the second with runners on first and second, Bobby Wilson hit a line drive into left field. Hermida ranged to his left, and then right before getting to where the ball was going to land, hesitated and backed up. It was easily catchable without the hesitation, but the error-that-wasn't allowed a run to score, and then another on a single up the middle, tying the game at two runs a piece.
Beckett held the tie in place until the fifth inning, when Bill Hall lost a leadoff popup in the sky, allowing it to drop for a double. A sacrifice bunt and fly later, and the Angels had taken a 3-2 lead. Beckett would manage to keep going through seven innings, striking out five batters and allowing only one walk in what was really a great start.
With a one-run lead in the seventh, Rich Thompson came up-and-in to Kevin Youkilis twice. This sort of agressive pitching has been pretty common during the series, so it wasn't surprising to see them get Youk's attention. Nor was it horribly surprising to see Youkilis get theirs, taking a 3-1 meatball over the bullpen in left field to tie the game.
Even though the Angels had been wearing out their bullpen all game, with both Bard and Papelbon unavailable the Sox could not be content with holding a tie for long. Luckily, in came Fernando Rodney to pitch the eighth, setting up the most improbable rally of the year for the Red Sox. Rodney failed to find the zone on eight of his first twelve pitches, walking strikeout kings Jeremy Hermida and Bill Hall to start the inning. When Eric Patterson laid a bunt down the third base line, it looked like an easy out for Alberto Callaspo, but a double pump allowed Patterson to reach, setting up Marco Scutaro with a bases loaded situation with nobody out.
To that point in the game, Scutaro had played the stereotypical leadoff man, walking twice and collecting two singles to get the offense rolling. With Patterson's bunt single being all they could manage with runners in scoring position, however, Scutaro had to take matters into his own hands. After getting behind 0-2, Scutaro fought off a few pitches and took a ball before turning on an inside changeup that stayed letter-high, sending it into the seats in left for his second career grand slam and giving the Red Sox a commanding 7-3 lead.
Manny Delcarmen got into a little two-out trouble before being saved by a fantastic leaping play by Bill Hall to make up for his earlier blunder, and Ramon Ramirez worked a clean ninth inning to close out the sweep.