BOSTON — Resilience hasn’t exactly been a characteristic of the 2015 Red Sox.
The Red Sox showed some of it Saturday, though, when they bounced back from a 12-5 loss in Friday’s series opener and overcame an early deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Angels 8-3 at Fenway Park.
Boston trailed 2-0 after the first inning but scored the next six runs to seize control of the contest. It was the Red Sox’s eighth come-from-behind win this season and the victory couldn’t have come at a better time, as Boston entered the showdown in the midst of a three-game losing streak.
Let’s dive into some notes from Saturday.
— Steven Wright earned his first career win as a starter while tossing a career-high 6 1/3 innings.
Wright recorded perfect innings in the second, third, fifth and sixth after surrendering a hit to three of the first four batters he faced. The 30-year-old owns a 1.16 ERA (three earned runs in 23 1/3 innings) over his last five home appearances dating back to last season.
“For me, it’s just another day,” Wright said. “If you’re trying to put too much pressure on yourself, you’re just going to disappoint yourself and you’re going to try to overdo things or overwork.”
Wright threw just 75 pitches. He clearly had more in the tank, especially being a knuckleballer. Red Sox manager John Farrell turned to his bullpen in the seventh inning, though. It all worked out in the end.
“Where we were at in the game, he had more than done his job,” Farrell said. “We wanted him to come out of that game with at a minimum a chance for a win to feel good about his performance. And our guys coming in behind him did the job.”
— Mike Napoli’s two-homer effort marked his 14th career multihomer game and his fourth multihomer game with the Red Sox. His last came against the New York Yankees on Sept. 7, 2013.
Napoli is 7-for-18 (.389 average) with four homers this homestand. The Red Sox, as a team, are hitting .290 (51-for-176) over their last five games, and they’ve recorded at least 11 hits in three of the games.
— One has to wonder if the Red Sox are losing patience with Shane Victorino. While there’s really no evidence to suggest that’s the case, the veteran outfielder simply can’t stay on the field.
Victorino is considered day-to-day after leaving Saturday’s game in the third inning with left calf tightness. It’s an especially frustrating development for the Red Sox because Victorino has been swinging the bat well since coming off the disabled list following a hamstring injury.
The Red Sox are 12-8 in games Victorino has played this season. They’re 8-15 without him.
— Victorino’s replacement, Mookie Betts, sure stepped in just fine. The 22-year-old collected two RBI singles, scored a run and made an excellent catch up against the center field wall in the ninth inning.
“When I have days off, he never says it’s just a full day off,” Betts said of staying prepared. “You’re not starting, but be ready to go at any given time.”
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington gave Betts a vote of confidence before the game, saying he’s in a good position to succeed with Boston and that his mediocre numbers are largely a product of bad luck. Betts certainly has squared up some balls this season that have been hit right at fielders.
— Blake Swihart and Brock Holt executed a perfect hit-and-run in the eighth inning. Holt scored from first base on a ball that ended up in shallow right-center field. It extended Boston’s lead to 7-3.
Third base coach Brian Butterfield deserves a ton of credit for sending Holt. Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun, who retrieved the baseball, definitely didn’t expect Holt to motor around third base like he did. By the time Calhoun reacted, he had no shot at throwing out Holt at the plate. And to make matters worse for the Halos, Swihart took second base on Calhoun’s throw home.
“He reads Calhoun with the fielding of the ground-ball base hit. Doesn’t look like he’s coming up in the throwing position, and there really was no hesitation on his part,” Farrell said. “I think that’s the third time now we’ve scored from first base on a single with runners in motion. A good, aggressive read on Butter’s part.”
The play was exactly the type of thing the Red Sox need more of going forward.
— Pablo Sandoval, who has been battling a knee issue, would have been in the starting lineup if the Red Sox faced a right-handed starter, according to Farrell. But with left-hander C.J. Wilson on the mound, the skipper decided to give the third baseman another day off. Holt started at third base.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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