The last time the Angels were at Fenway Park, they suffered a demoralizing sweep in the American League Division Series on a walk-off homer by Boston slugger David Ortiz.
Fresh off his latest dramatic blast, Ortiz hopes to lead the Red Sox past Los Angeles again as the teams open a three-game series.
Last October, the Angels entered Fenway down 0-2 in their best-of-five series with the Red Sox, who completed the sweep with an 8-6 victory on Ortiz’s two-run shot off Jarrod Washburn in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 3.
Ortiz, who would go on to win the ALCS MVP and help Boston win its first World Series title since 1918, hasn’t slowed down at all this year. He’s among the AL’s top 10 in homers and RBIs.
On Thursday, Ortiz hit a game-winning three-run homer off Baltimore closer B.J. Ryan with two outs in the ninth to lift Boston to a 6-4 win and a four-game split with the Orioles.
It was the fifth game-ending homer of Ortiz’s career, including two in the 2004 playoffs.
“He’s getting comfortable with being in that situation,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “Like a basketball player who takes the shot at the buzzer, he relishes that. And he’s taken a lot of good swings.”
The Angels averted a third straight walk-off loss in Chicago on Wednesday, holding off the White Sox 10-7 as closer Francisco Rodriguez struck out Juan Uribe with the bases loaded. Rodriguez, who was making his first appearance since May 14 due to a strained right forearm, walked three in the inning before recording the final out.
“It’s tough to be out for a while and then come back,” said Rodriguez. “I was expecting a better outing than that, but that’s how it is. I lost my release point and my control. And that cost me a run and almost the ballgame.”
Los Angeles, which has won five of its last seven, is 1-2 on its 12-game road trip.
Boston has won four of six since losing a season-high four straight.