Rick Porcello had a hiccup in the first inning before settling down and looking as if he was goin to cruise through the rest of his start.
But then the sixth inning happened.
The Red Sox right-hander gave up a three-run home run in the first before retiring 14 straight Angels batters. But Mike Trout blasted his first Fenway Park home run to put Los Angeles up 5-1 in an eventual 12-4 Boston loss.
It’s been an extremely disappointing season for Porcello, who fell to 10-9, as he continued to struggle with the long ball Saturday afternoon. The pitcher has surrendered 25 home runs on the year, 18 of them coming in the first inning. The 25 total ties him for eighth in Major League Baseball.
“Sixth inning, threw three pitches and gave up two runs. And it’s tough, I gotta be better,” Porcello said on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “… Between there we were getting quick outs, we were mixing pitches, rolling along just fine and it happened quick there in the sixth. That’s it.
“Last year, it was a a dream season. This season, you’re getting punched in the face every fifth day.”
But despite being down 5-1 after Trout’s blast, Porcello never lost confidence in his team to try to make a comeback.
“Yeah, absolutely, hell yeah. Even at 5-1 we got a ton of confidence in our offense to come back,” he said. “It’s not a situation that you want to be put our team in, obviously. But the point is I have the utmost confidence in our offense to come back from just about any deficit. … I had back-to-back slip-ups and that ended up costing us.”
Manager Alex Cora believed the right-hander got into a good groove after the first inning, but Los Angeles ultimately made Porcello pay for his mistakes.
“It’s one of those that, everybody knows, he finds his stride, he goes through a lineup, they make him pay,” the skipper said on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “We didn’t keep the ball in the ballpark and that was it.
“… We’ll keep working, we’ll keep going,” Cora added. “There were some positives, but obviously at the end we need results as a team.”
Boston now will look to take the series 3-1 on Sunday afternoon.
Here are some other notes from Saturday’s Red Sox-Angels game:
— Sam Travis hit his fifth home run of the season in the seventh inning. It marked the first time this season Travis hit a round-tripper off a right-handed pitcher.
— Darwinzon Hernandez, who has been strong out of the bullpen for Boston, was removed from the game in the seventh after loading the bases before recording an out.
The bullpen surrendered a combined six earned runs, with Hernandez accounting for four of them.
— The Red Sox’s loss halted the Angels’ eight-game losing streak.
— Mike Trout now has homered at every American League ballpark.
— Xander Bogaerts and Michael Chavis were the only ones in the Red Sox lineup to go hitless in the game.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images