But Ervin Santana took the mound on Thursday for the Angels in search of his first win against the Red Sox in over four years. And while the righty was unable to get the W against his team's potential postseason opponent, he was able to help the Angels salvage the final game of the three-game series with a 4-3 win on Thursday.
Angels 4, Red Sox 3
Fenway Park, Boston, Mass.
Sept. 17, 2009
Headliner: Howie Kendrick was responsible for most of the Angels' offense on Thursday, going 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored. Kendrick hit a solo homer in the third to give the Angels an early 1-0 lead, and he singled in the seventh and ninth. His bloop RBI single over the head of Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia in the ninth inning gave the Angels a 4-3 lead, a lead that would hold up as they were able to avoid a sweep in Boston.
Dirt Dog: Ervin Santana brought a season full of inconsistency to the mound at Fenway on Thursday night, but the right-hander was able to give the Angels a quality start. Santana pitched seven innings, allowing four hits and three earned runs for his ninth win of the season. Santana struck out six and walked just one, but has still been unable to beat the Red Sox since Aug. 20, 2005.
Better luck next time: David Ortiz was 5-for-12 (.417) against Santana in his career entering Thursday night. But Big Papi struggled mightily against the right-hander, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Santana. Ortiz finished the game 0-for-4 with three strikeouts after going down swinging against L.A. closer Brian Fuentes in the ninth.
Key moment: Tied 3-3 in the top of the ninth inning, Billy Wagner relieved Josh Beckett after the ace threw 114 pitches over the first eight innings. Wagner walked Juan Rivera to begin the ninth and Angels manager Mike Scioscia pinch-ran Terry Evans for Rivera. Pinch-hitter Reggie Willits moved Evans to second on a sacrifice bunt, and Kendrick followed with his bloop single over second base to plate Evans, the go-ahead run. In the bottom of the ninth, reliever Kevin Jepsen and Fuentes closed the door to make Kendrick's RBI the game-winner.
On deck: The Red Sox begin their final road trip of the season, a 10-day adventure that takes them to Baltimore, Kansas City and New York. With just 17 games remaining in the 2009 season for the Red Sox, the only team they play with a winning record is the Yankees, as they will finish up at home against Toronto and Cleveland.
Clay Buchholz (5-3, 3.66) will start the first game of the road trip against the Orioles' Jeremy Guthrie (10-14, 5.06) at Camden Yards in the final series between the two teams this season.