The Red Sox allowed nine runs in the fifth inning as the Angels rolled to a series-opening win. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
How about some consistency?
After the Red Sox scored one run or less in four of their last six games and came in averaging 2.34 runs per game in the month of May, they finally had a good offensive night, scoring five runs, but it wasn’t enough as they couldn’t continue their string of strong games from the mound, as the Angels took the first game of the weekend series, 12-5.
Red Sox starter Rick Porcello just didn’t have it. He couldn’t control any of his pitches and the Angels made him pay, especially in the fifth — a half inning that lasted over 37 minutes, and saw three pitchers combine for 46 pitches and nine runs.
Porcello walked the first two batters, and then Mike Trout singled to short left on a ball that barely got by Brock Holt at third, but a second run scored when Xander Bogaerts tried to get Johnny Giavotella at third base and the throw went against the Angels dugout. Albert Pujols then grounded out, but Trout would steal third on a tremendous slide, eluding Holt’s tag (he was ruled safe after a video review). Kole Calhoun then singled to score Trout and David Freese doubled scoring the fourth run of the inning, which was Porcello’s departure.
Matt Barnes came in relief and was even worse. He walked the first batter he faced and then allowed a three-run homer to Chris Iannetta. Marc Krauss then hit a routine fly ball to right field that Rusney Castillo, in his first major league game of the season, dropped. Two batters later Erick Aybar hit a two-run homer sending Barnes to the showers.
Robbie Ross Jr. then came on and after a harmless Trout single retired the next two batters to mercifully end the inning. It was their worst inning of the season as their previous high in an inning was seven — when Clay Buchholz allowed seven in the first against the Yankees on April 12.
Adding insult to injury (literally), Hanley Ramirez left the game in the sixth, two innings after taking a pitch off the hand. The Red Sox announced he left because of left hand soreness. Every Red Sox starter recorded a hit, besides Ramirez.
For Porcello it was his shortest outing of the season, as his fine line was 4 1/3 innings, seven runs on seven hits, while walking three and striking out four.
Trailing 11-3 going into the seventh, the Red Sox showed some fight scoring two runs, forcing Angels starter Garrett Richards from the game, and could have scored even more if it weren’t for Daniel Nava hitting into a double play with the bases loaded to end the inning.
The Red Sox have now lost four of their last five games and fall to 8-12 at home this year.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Trout. The centerfielder put on a show, as besides going 3-for-6 at the plate, he made a tremendous throw from deep left center field to throw out Napoli trying to score from first in the fourth and had a great slide to avoid a tag at third on a stolen base attempt in the fifth. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.
Here’s what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:
WHAT WENT WRONG
— Although Porcello had been “The Stopper” in the early going this season, he couldn’t help end the Sox’ two-game losing streak. His poor performance ended a streak of eight straight games where the Red Sox starter had gone at least five innings and allowed two earned runs or less.
— In relief of Porcello, Barnes allowed four runs (two earned) and a home run in just 1/3 inning. Prior to Friday he had gone four straight outings, five innings, without allowing a run.
— The Red Sox didn’t play very well behind their pitchers, committing three errors. Bogaerts had two at shortstop, as he went 56 games without one, but has three in the last two games. Castillo had the other when he dropped a routine fly in the fifth.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
— Mike Napoli hit his second home run this week, a mammoth shot over the Monster, which actually gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the second inning. He finished 1-for-3 with a walk.
— Dustin Pedroia finished 3-for-5 with an RBI. He has now hit safely in 18 of his last 20 games against the Angels.
— Robbie Ross Jr. went 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, while allowing just one hit. It was his first appearance since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on May 14.