Rubby De La Rosa was strong for the Red Sox Thursday night. But he couldn’t match the masterful effort of Angels starter Matt Shoemaker.
Shoemaker outdueled the Red Sox righty with a one-hit shutout over 7 2/3 innings to lead the Angels to a 2-0 win to complete the four-game sweep of the Sox.
Shoemaker worked a no hitter into the seventh inning before Will Middlebrooks broke it up with a two-out double in the seventh. The Sox avoided being no-hit for the first time since April 22, 1993, when Chris Bosio achieved the feat for the Mariners. The last pitcher to come that close was Cubs pitcher Jake Arietta, who lost a no-hitter in the eighth June 30 at Fenway Park. Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman no-hit the Sox through six innings July 26.
It was another tough night offensively for the Red Sox, who managed just three base runners for the game and were shut out for the 12th time this season. They were outscored 18-8 over the four-game series against the Angels.
Shoemaker dominated a shorthanded Red Sox offense that was without three of its best sluggers for most of the night – David Ortiz had an off day, Mike Napoli is still day-to-day with back spasms and Yoenis Cespedes left the game after the third inning for what the team called a “personal matter.” The undrafted pitcher out of Eastern Michigan University walked one and struck out nine. It was the lowest single-game hit total in a major league start for Shoemaker.
It was an especially disappointing outcome for De La Rosa, who bounced back nicely coming off an outing last Saturday in which he gave up six runs over four innings to the Astros. De La Rosa gave up two runs on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings Thursday night. He struck out a season-high eight batters for the third time this season and walked just three. He threw 111 pitches for the game, marking the third time he’s reached the 110-pitch mark in his last five starts.
The loss is the Red Sox’ fifth straight, dropping them to 56-71 for the season.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– Brock Holt was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the first inning, and didn’t have a hitter reach base over the next 20 plate appearances.
– De La Rosa got off to a rocky start for the second outing in a row, giving up a run in the top of the first to give the Angels the early 1-0 lead. Josh Hamilton drove in Kole Calhoun with an RBI double to left. De La Rosa gave up two runs in the first inning of what would be a brief, four-inning outing against the Astros on Saturday.
– It was another ugly outing for Junichi Tazawa, who loaded the bases with two outs on a single and two walks before striking out Collin Cowgill to get out of the jam. The shaky effort comes on the heels of an ugly performance Monday night in which the reliever gave up a pair of unearned runs by committing two errors in one play. Tazawa has allowed base runners in four straight relief appearances.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– De La Rosa loaded the bases with one out in the second inning, but struck out Calhoun and Mike Trout to escape the jam. He rolled from there, retiring 10 of the next 11 batters he faced to keep the Red Sox within a run. De La Rosa had similar success against a loaded Angels lineup in Anaheim Aug. 10, allowing just one run over seven-plus innings to lead the Red Sox to a win.
– Before exiting the game after the third inning, Cespedes had a chance to show off that highly touted arm Thursday night when he gunned down Hamilton at the plate in the first inning. Howie Kendrick hit a ground ball single to left with two outs and Hamilton on second. Cespedes scooped the slow roller and fired a strike to home with plenty of time for catcher Christian Vazquez to apply the tag. It was Cespedes’ 13th assist of the season, moving him into a tie with Jackie Bradley Jr. for most among major league outfielders.
– Vazquez made life difficult for Angels base runners this week. The catcher caught two runners stealing on Monday. On Thursday, he picked off Kendrick at first base with a strike to Kelly Johnson, who applied the tag. It was Vazquez’s second pickoff with the Red Sox this season. Vazquez also caught Trout stealing second in the top of the ninth. He has now recorded nine outs by caught stealing or pickoff, tied for most by a Sox catcher.
– Mookie Betts continued a strong series at center field with an impressive leaping catch in the top of the fourth on a deep fly ball by Erick Aybar. Betts had to run all the way to left-center to make the play, showing good range and athleticism in the process.