The Boston Red Sox’s offense has struggled since returning from the Major League Baseball All-Star break, but there were no signs of quiet bats Friday night at Angel Stadium.
The Red Sox erupted for a five-run first inning and cruised to a 6-2 victory in the series opener against the Los Angeles Angels.
Mookie Betts (2-for-3) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (2-for-4) were the offensive stars for Boston, as both outfielders contributed a double and an RBI. Bradley also added to his highlight reel with one of the best catches you’ll see this season.
The Red Sox’s success at the plate was matched by Chris Sale’s performance on the mound. The left-hander tosses six scoreless innings, only allowing four hits to go along with nine strikeouts, which boosted his season total to 200.
With the win, the Red Sox improve to 55-43, while the Angels fall to 47-51.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
It was a total team win for the Red Sox. They received a tremendous performance from their starting pitcher, had a strong night at the plate and played flawless defense.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
The Red Sox posted five runs in the first inning. The Angels still had a full game to mount a comeback, but with the way Sale was dealing, Boston seemingly had this one in the bag from the get-go.
ON THE BUMP
— Sale got off to a dominant start, as a Mike Trout walk served as the only baserunner allowed in the left-hander’s first two innings of work. A Cliff Pennington single in the third inning gave the Angels their first hit of the contest, but Sale would respond by sitting down the next five batters.
Los Angeles’ only real scoring threat against Sale came in the fifth inning. Martin Maldonado laced a one-out single up the middle, and Pennington moved him into scoring position with a two-out double to the right-center field gap. But Sale would keep the Angels off the scoreboard by striking out Yunel Escobar to end the frame.
Sale would battle through the sixth inning, but after ending the inning with a pitch count of 112, Red Sox manager John Farrell decided his starter’s night was over.
— Kyle Martin entered in the seventh and was rudely greeted by a Maldonado home run to lead off the inning, trimming Boston’s lead to 6-1. The right-hander would get through the frame without any further damage.
Martin stayed on for the eighth but was pulled with only one out in the inning after allowing a single and a walk.
— Matt Barnes followed Martin and quickly induced an inning-ending double play. The hard-throwing right-hander stayed on for the ninth and allowed one run before sealing the victory.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Red Sox didn’t waste any time getting the bats going against Angels starter Ricky Nolasco. Betts flared a double to shallow left field to lead off the game and was plated by a single off the bat of Andrew Benintendi, who advanced to second on the throw to home.
After Dustin Pedroia advanced Benintendi to third on a groundout, Mitch Moreland knocked in Boston’s second run with a sharp single to right field. Hanley Ramirez then followed with a base knock, and Moreland was able to scoot home on a wild pitch to boost Boston’s lead to 3-0.
Xander Bogaerts kept things going with an RBI single to score Ramirez, and Bradley followed with a double down the right-field line to cap the loud five-run inning.
— After quiet second and third innings, Boston did some more damage to the scoreboard in the fourth. Bradley singled with one out and advanced to third on a two-out single by Brock Holt. Betts then brought in Bradley with an RBI single to make it 6-0.
TWEET OF THE DAY
That’s more like it.
The Red Sox and Angels will play Game 2 of their three-game series Saturday night. David Price is scheduled to get the ball for Boston and will be countered by Los Angeles’ J.C. Ramirez. First pitch from Angel Stadium is set for 9:07 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images
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