Watching the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night at the Big A in Anaheim was a lesson in futility. Through nine innings they had squandered 13 baserunners, and showed a complete ineptitude in hitting with runners in scoring position.
Gonzalez ripped a double to score J.D. Drew, who had reached base via a walk, Boston’s 11th of the night, and Jed Lowrie drove in Dustin Pedroia with a sacrifice fly, giving the Red Sox a 4-2 victory in the first of four over the Los Angeles Angels.
Angels pitchers had gotten themselves in trouble all night long via free passes, yet were able to shut the Red Sox down each time. Gonzalez finally made them pay.
Angels’ pitcher Rich Thompson had set the Red Sox down in order in the 10th before walking Drew to lead off the top of the 11th. Pedroia followed with a single, and Gonzalez then ripped a double into right field to finally end the cycle of futility for Boston.
“I just didn’t make the pitches. That’s basically it,” Thompson told the Associated Press. “I walked the first guy, and that’s always going to put you in a bit of a hole. If I make a better pitch to Pedroia, we would have been sitting a lot prettier than we were.”
Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett, dominant in his last two starts, was once again effective, throwing eight strong innings, allowing two runs on three hits, his only mistake of the night a two-run homer to nemesis Torii Hunter, who came into the game hitting .388 against Beckett in his career.
Angels’ starter Tyler Chatwood, making just his third major league start, was also effective in his six innings of work, although five walks kept him pitching from the stretch most of the night. He continually worked out of trouble until Jacoby Ellsbury torched him with a two-run single in the sixth.
While leaving runners on was certainly troublesome to Sox manager Terry Francona, he’ll still take the win.
“I do think they (stranded runners) even out, and I can’t wait,” Francona said.
For continuing coverage of the Boston Red Sox, follow us on Twitter @chowdaheadz.