BOSTON — It took a while to get there, but the Red Sox started off the month of July with a win over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday.
Boston struck early and often, giving starter Steven Wright a 5-0 lead heading into the sixth inning. However, rain started to pour in the bottom of the fifth, which for Wright means he can’t grip his knuckleball. That much was abundantly clear, too, as Wright put a blemish on his solid first five innings by giving up a grand slam to make it 5-4 with no outs in the sixth.
But the Red Sox’s bullpen came through, and the score stayed the same, even with a 95-minute rain delay in the middle of the sixth inning.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
The score looked closer than it was thanks to a rough and rainy sixth inning for Wright. But the Red Sox were putting runs up from the beginning — they scored in the opening frame for the first time since June 11 — and otherwise solid pitching from Wright helped Boston begin July on a good note.
IT WAS OVER WHEN …
Craig Kimbrel forced C.J. Cron to ground out to end the game.
The Red Sox closer almost tied things up in the ninth with runners on second and third with two outs but he earned the save to give the Red Sox a W.
ON THE BUMP
— The rain was Wright’s biggest foe again Friday. The knuckleballer had a great five innings, getting himself out of trouble at times with some help from the defense behind him and keeping the Angels scoreless. But once a steady rain started falling in the bottom of the fifth inning, Wright lost his knuckleball and had a disastrous sixth.
The 31-year-old loaded the bases with a double, a hit by pitch and a walk and worked a full count to Cron before he smacked an 86-mph fastball to the top of the Green Monster for a grand slam. Wright finished the night with four runs on eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts over five innings.
— Matt Barnes relieved Wright in the sixth and worked a groundout, a strikeout and and another groundout to keep Boston in the lead.
— After a 95-minute rain delay, the Red Sox finally went with Junichi Tazawa in the seventh. The right-hander didn’t have the best showing, giving up a hit to Mike Trout and walking third baseman Jefry Marte. But Tazawa ended the frame with an exclamation point by striking out Daniel Nava.
— Koji Uehara got himself into some trouble in the eighth inning after second baseman Johnny Giavotella tripled, thanks in part to some miscommunication between Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt in the outfield. Catcher Carlos Perez tried a squeeze play in the next at-bat, but the Red Sox were ready, and Uehara got the out at home. Uehara put another runner on with two outs but struck out Kole Calhoun to end the frame.
— Craig Kimbrel came very close to blowing the save in the ninth, but a lucky bounce stopped Trout from scoring on a two-out ground-rule double.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Mookie Betts (3-for-5) and David Ortiz (3-for-4) were hitting everything they saw from Angels starter Jhoulys Chacin. The pair ended the night with a run each.
Ortiz also hit a solo shot in the fifth inning that gave him 522 in his career and sole possession of 19th place on the all-time home run list ahead of Ted Williams, Willie McCovey and Frank Thomas; not a bad crew.
— Dustin Pedroia collected his first hit when the game resumed in the bottom of the sixth, going 1-for-5.
— Xander Bogaerts went hitless at 0-for-4 but walked in the fifth inning and scored a run.
— Jackie Bradley Jr. went 2-for-4 and scored on a Travis Shaw double. Shaw went 1-for-3 with an intentional walk and an RBI.
— Brock Holt had a nice first day back from the disabled list, going 2-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and an RBI.
— Christian Vazquez went 2-for-3 with a hit by pitch and an RBI single. Marco Hernandez went 2-for-4.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
On top of crushing it at the plate, Holt also made this nice play in the fifth inning.
The Red Sox play the second game of their series with the Angels on Saturday in a 7:10 p.m. game. Clay Buchholz will match up against Los Angeles lefty Hector Santiago.
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images
Jul 1, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Steven Wright (35) pitches against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
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