ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Run support has not been a problem this season for Jarrod Washburn, who has rewarded his Anaheim teammates with some brilliant pitching in return.
“The guys have been making it pretty easy for me this year, and it’s been a fun year for me,” Washburn said. “Hopefully, there’s a lot more wins to come.”
The left-hander allowed three hits and an unearned in seven innings in his first home start since June 9, leading the Angels to their fourth straight win. They have scored eight or more runs in nine of Washburn’s 18 starts.
“I think we need to start putting Washburn’s name down every time in the pitcher’s spot—no matter who’s pitching—and maybe we’ll see if that rubs off,” shortstop David Eckstein said.
Pitching on seven days’ rest after earning his first career shutout, Washburn (10-4) struck out three and walked two. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in four of his last five outings.
“I just have better command,” Washburn said. “The last time I faced Boston, I was falling behind and getting in good hitters’ counts. That’s not a good recipe for success against a good offensive club like they have. But tonight I was able to get ahead and put them on the defensive, something I’ve been doing the last month or so.”
Washburn retired Boston leadoff hitter Johnny Damon all three times up, helping end his 16-game hitting streak. Damon has only one hit in 19 lifetime at-bats against him.
“He’s been doing that to me my entire career,” Damon said. “He’s not afraid of anything. We didn’t swing the bats too well tonight, but that could be because he was able to throw his fastball everywhere. I think he might have started throwing a split-finger, and we haven’t seen that too much from him.”
Washburn and Derek Lowe were locked in a 1-1 tie before the Angels regained the lead in the fifth with an RBI double to left-center by Erstad and a run-scoring single by Bengie Molina that chased Lowe (7-9).
“When you’ve got 100 pitches before five innings, that’s a decent indication that something’s not the way you drew it up,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “If we get Molina, we’re in pretty good shape. But it just fell apart from there.”
Adam Kennedy greeted Alan Embree with a single and Eckstein followed with an RBI double. Figgins—whose fielding error on Jason Varitek’s routine grounder to third base in the top of the inning led to an unearned run—drove in two more with a single past Embree for a 6-1 lead.
Lowe lost for the fourth time in five starts, allowing four runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings. He struck out four and walked three.
Erstad’s third homer of the season, a two-run shot off Curtis Leskanic, made it 8-1 in the sixth.
Eckstein, whom the Angels claimed off waivers from the Red Sox in August 2000, is 11-for-15 against Boston this season—including a career-high five hits on June 2.
“He’s a pesky little player,” Francona said. “When you make a mistake, he hits it. He has risen to the occasion in these three games against us. The first two games, he was unconscious.”
Molina singled and scored the first run from second base on a two-out bloop single by Figgins, which landed just inside the left-field line between Kevin Millar, third baseman Bill Mueller and shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. Millar started in left instead of Manny Ramirez, limited to DH duty because of tightness in both hamstrings.
“Kevin’s not the fleetest of foot, we all know that. But he gives you what he has,” Francona said. “He got to the line, looked like he gave one glance at the end, and that probably did him in. The infielders were playing in because they respected Figgins’ speed, so they had a long way to go.”
Boston tied it in the fifth with an unearned run. Millar singled, Varitek reached on Figgins’ miscue and Mueller followed with an RBI double.
Lowe entered with an average run support of 7.69 per nine innings— third in the majors behind Washburn (8.53) and Mark Buehrle (8.20). … Red Sox GM Mike Port received a warm welcome from several longtime Angels personnel who saw him for the first time since his heart attack on May 1. Port was instrumental in building three division champions during his 14 seasons in Anaheim. … Boston RHP Ramiro Mendoza, sidelined since April 8 with tendinitis in his shoulder, was activated from the disabled list and pitched a perfect eighth.