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Red Sox 0, Angels 2: Red Sox don't get no-hit!

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So they've got that going for them.

Jim Rogash

The headline should just about say it all. On a night without David Ortiz or Mike Napoli, and which saw Yoenis Cespedes leave in the early innings to attend to a "personal matter," the Red Sox can at least say that they didn't get no-hit.

They came close, however.

In fact, Angels starter Matt Shoemaker was perfect for much of the game, even if the possibility of an actual perfect game ended in the first plate appearance he pitched, hitting Brock Holt with his third pitch of the night. Holt would reach second with a stolen base as the rest of the top-four went down swinging on 13 total pitches, and that was as close as the Red Sox would get to scoring until the seventh.

20 straight baserunners came to the plate for the Red Sox, took their hacks against Shoemaker, and retreated to the dugout without reaching. It wasn't until the fourth that the Red Sox had even managed more balls in play than strikeouts, with the fly ball, ground ball, pop-up frame from Dustin Pedroia, Daniel Nava, and Will Middlebrooks representing the best offensive performance from the Red Sox in the first four innings. As Pedroia and Nava produced two more outs in the seventh, the no-hit watch was on in full force.

Sans Ortiz, Napoli, and Cespedes, there was little enough quality in the Red Sox' lineup to begin with. Still, wouldn't you know it, even in this weakest of lineups, the hit finally came from one of the least likely sources: Will Middlebrooks. The third baseman who entered the game for Yoenis Cespedes (shifting Brock Holt into the outfield) hooked a hanging changeup  into left field to give the Red Sox their first and, ultimately, only hit of the night with Shoemaker just seven outs away from history.

"Close" may only count in horseshoes and hand grenades, but if Shoemaker's no-hitter was lost, the Angels still had themselves a lead, albeit not one as large as they might have expected given the way Rubby De La Rosa was pitching early on. The Angels would score their first run in the first inning, Kole Calhoun leading off the game with a single, then coming around on Josh Hamilton's double to left--his sixth hit of the series.

Still, as hard as De La Rosa tried to give up more early runs, the Angels just couldn't score. Yoenis Cespedes gunned down Hamilton at home when he tried to score on a ground ball single from Howie Kendrick in the next at bat, then Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout both went down swinging in the second after De La Rosa loaded the bases with one out on a single and two walks. By the time the top of the third inning had ended on a challenged pickoff play at first courtesy Christian Vazquez and Kelly Johnson, the Angels had produced five hits, two walks, and somehow, just the one run.

From there, De La Rosa settled in, recording 1-2-3 innings in the fourth and fifth inning, and allowing just another ground ball single to Kendrick in the sixth. The seventh, however, would see the Angels finally break through again, capitalizing on a leadoff ground-rule double and stolen base from Erick Aybar, Kole Calhoun driving him in with a sacrifice fly.

Still, if it was just two runs, and a surprisingly solid finish after the shaky start from Rubby De La Rosa, that was two too many for a Red Sox lineup that showed not a single sign of life. Mookie Betts would draw a walk in the eighth to finally get Shoemaker out of the game, but Mike Morin and Jason Grilli took care of the rest in short order, retiring the next four Red Sox to wrap up the sweep for the Angels.