Mike Napoli went deep twice in the Red Sox‘ win over the Angels. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Losing two straight and four of five, the Red Sox offense, which came in averaging 2.45 runs per game in May, and team in general needed a spark — someone to insert some life into the group.
Mike Napoli to the rescue.
The first baseman hit two monster home runs, as the Red Sox beat the Angels 8-3 Saturday night at Fenway Park.
His second home run came in the sixth inning with two outs and Hanley Ramirez on first base as he took a C.J. Wilson offering and crushed it over everything in left, snapping a 2-2 tie at the time.
Napoli owns the Angels as he entered the game with the best all-time slugging percentage (.679) and OPS (1.120) against them. He has reached base in 14 straight games against them.
The Red Sox added to their lead in the seventh inning when Xander Bogaerts delivered a two-out, two-run single to right with the bases loaded. They struck for two more in the eighth when Blake Swihart and Brock Holt perfectly executed a hit-and-run where Holt scored from first on a ball that died in the outfield grass, and then Mookie Betts added a two-out RBI single.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright was terrific for the Red Sox, as after allowing two first inning runs he retired 18 of the next 19 hitters before walking Matt Joyce with one out in the seventh inning and manager John Farrell took him out of the game. Alexi Ogando retired the next two batters to get out of the inning with no damage.
Wright finished the night going 6 1/3 innings, allowing the two first inning runs on four hits, while walking one and striking out two to pick up his second win of the season. It was his first career win as a major league starter.
After trailing 2-0, the Red Sox scored once in the third and once in the fourth. They got on the board in the third inning on a rocket of a homer by Napoli into the Monster seats. They then scored the following inning on an RBI single to left from Betts, who was pinch-hitting for Shane Victorino (more on that later).
Things didn’t start so well for Wright and the Red Sox as the Angels scored twice in the first inning on back-to-back doubles by Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun. The Red Sox have now been outscored 32-14 in the first inning this year.
Victorino, after missing the last two games, returned to the lineup, but left prior to his at-bat in the bottom of third inning with left calf tightness. That was part of what has kept him out the last two days.
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Napoli. He put the team on his back with the two homers. He now has four home runs in his last five games and was his 14th career multi-homer game. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:
WHAT WENT RIGHT
— As a team the Red Sox scored seven runs, which was the most they’ve scored in a game since April 28 and spanned 21 games.
— Wright gave the Red Sox exactly what they needed from their starter following Friday’s poor outing from Rick Porcello. He only needed 75 pitches in his 6 1/3 innings, a very impressive feat.
— Taking the place of Victorino, Betts went 2-for-4, extending his hit streak to five games. He is hitting .348 in that span. He also made a tremendous leaping catch against the wall in center in the ninth.
— Rusney Castillo went 1-for-4 in his second big league game of the season. He looked much better in the outfield than he did Friday when he dropped a routine fly in rightfield. He started the game in center, but switched to right when Victorino was forced from the game.
— Koji Uehara threw a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation, although he did walk two batters. It was his first appearance since Tuesday.
WHAT WENT WRONG
— David Ortiz went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and grounded into a double play. He also popped out to shallow left with the bases loaded in the seventh inning. His average is now down to .115 against lefties this season.
— Junichi Tazawa allowed a run in the eighth inning, his only inning of work. The right-hander has appeared in 22 of the first 43 games of the season and it was the first run he’s allowed in his last 10 appearances.