Tonight's game was a study in how not to win a baseball game—if you're talking about the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (and Additional Assorted Assonances).
- Bad defense directly leading to runs? Check.
- Bad pitching decisions? Check.
- Good moves leading to bad luck? Check.
The troubles started relatively early. After a quiet inning for both the Sox and the Angels in the first inning—with a 1-2-3 for both C. J. Wilson and only a Mike Trout double spoiling a quick inning for Felix Doubront, the second was not so entertaining for the Angels. Jonny Gomes reached base on a walk, and Daniel Nava quickly joined him with a single. With two outs, Jarrod Saltalamacchia came to bat for the Sox, hitting what looked to be a catchable ball to end the top of the inning. Instead, J. B. Shuck misplayed the ball, letting Salty reach, as both Gomes and Nava came around to score, for a very costly run.
Doubront pitched a good game, except for the third frame, in which he allowed a leadoff triple to J. B. Shuck and a walk to Mike Trout. Albert Pujols managed to hit into a double play, but that still allowed Shuck to score to cut the lead in half. The lead would evaporate in the following inning with a lead-off homer to Howie Kendrick. Beyond that, though, it would be relatively smooth sailing for Doubront, who finished with another quality start, allowing only the two runs in 6.2 innings, with only two walks versus five strikeouts.
C. J. Wilson also pitched a strong game, but ultimately, he was let down by his defense once again. He managed to keep the Sox off the scoreboard for four straight innings, despite a barrage of hits (for the second game in a row, every Sox hitter had a hit in the game). His luck ran out in the seventh, however—but in the most unexpected of ways. Shane Victorino reached base on a single, but would come round to score three batters later when Jonny Gomes (who else?) hit a fly ball into the outfield. This time, however, it was to right field, where Josh Hamilton dropped an easily catchable ball, allowing Victorino to score in the process. So Wilson would go 6.2 innings as well, and only allow one earned run, but would go on to be the losing pitcher of record. Gomes would get picked off first to end the frame, interrupting a Daniel Nava at-bat.
Even that good play, however, would go unrewarded for the Angels, as Nava would hit a double to open the top of the eighth. David Ortiz would come in to pinch-hit for Brandon Snyder, but with first base open, one might have thought that Mike Scioscia would elect to walk Papi and go up against Saltalamacchia. He didn't, and Papi made the Angels pay, launching his seventeenth longball of the year into right, and putting the game out of reach for the Angels. A Mike Napoli home run in the top of the ninth off Michael Kohn capped off the scoring.
The Sox's bullpen did its job to close out the game, with Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa, and Koji Uehara providing the remaining seven outs, with Koji doing his job and shutting down the Angels in the ninth on just seven pitches.
All in all, a 6-2 victory and an excellent start to a very long West Coast road trip. Game 2 of the series starts at 10:05 ET.