Red Sox 12, Angels 7
BOSTON (AP)—The Red Sox knocked the ball all over Fenway Park and pushed Anaheim further back in the AL wild-card race.
Kevin Millar homered and drove in four runs, and Boston opened a 3 1/2 -game lead over the Angels with a 12-7 win Wednesday night.
Johnny Damon added four hits and Boston won its eighth straight game, 14th in its last 15 and second in a row over the Angels, the only AL team with a better batting average than the Red Sox.
“I think they’re the best team we played against all year,” Damon said. “For us to go out and play the way we played them, that’s very gratifying.”
Boston beat Anaheim 10-7 on Tuesday night and can sweep the series Thursday night. The Red Sox remained 3 1/2 games behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees.
“We’re very comfortable in this ballpark,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said after his team’s ninth straight win at Fenway. “I’m pleased the way we’ve come out against good teams.”
The Red Sox have scored at least 10 runs five times in their last 12 games. Anaheim is 1-3 after winning nine consecutive games.
“They’re going to be a force in whatever ballpark they’re playing in,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Right now they could play in the Grand Canyon and they’re going to score runs.”
But Anaheim is only three games behind AL West leader Oakland and, like Boston, within striking distance of the top spot.
“I don’t think either one of us is looking at the wild card,” Anaheim starter Aaron Sele said. “We both want to win the division. We look at this as another road trip.”
Every Red Sox starter had a hit by the fifth inning and six of them ended the night batting .291 or better.
With the score 5-5 after three, Boston scored two runs in the fourth, two in the fifth and three on Millar’s 14th homer of the year in the sixth. Anaheim’s last two runs scored on Troy Glaus’ RBI groundout in the seventh and Vladimir Guerrero’s double in the eighth.
Millar was 3-for-30 before going 2-for-3 in each of his last two starts.
“This game’s a constant adjustment,” Millar said. “I think I started opening up too much and that wasn’t good.”
The Red Sox won even though Bronson Arroyo allowed five runs in 2 2-3 innings, ending a streak of 41 games in which Boston starters went at least five. The last one to fall short was Tim Wakefield, who worked four innings July 17 in an 8-3 loss at Anaheim.
“These guys kept hammering away,” Arroyo said of his teammates. “Everybody else played great tonight, other than me.”
Terry Adams (5-4) pitched 2 1-3 scoreless innings for the win.
Sele (8-2) lasted longer than Arroyo but pitched worse. He allowed seven runs and 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings.
“They’re hot right now and they play great at home,” Sele said. “My off-speed pitch was up all night.”
After five innings, seven Boston starters had scored, six had RBIs and three hit sacrifice flies. Many of the outs traveled deep into the outfield, with only one out in the first five innings coming on a groundball.
The Red Sox took a 4-0 lead in the first for the second straight night against the Angels.
Damon led off with a single and scored on Mark Bellhorn’s double. After Manny Ramirez walked, Boston scored the next three runs on David Ortiz’s single, Millar’s sacrifice fly and Orlando Cabrera’s triple.
Anaheim cut the lead to 4-2 in the second on RBI singles by Chone Figgins and Darin Erstad. Boston added a run in the second on Ramirez’s sacrifice fly before Anaheim tied it in the third on a run-scoring double by Bengie Molina, a sacrifice fly by Figgins and an RBI single by David Eckstein.
Boston went ahead in the fourth on doubles by Damon and Bellhorn, then made it 7-5 on Ortiz’s sacrifice fly. In the fifth, Cabrera doubled in a run and Dave Roberts hit a sacrifice fly.
Boston catcher Varitek threw out two runners in the fifth—Adam Kennedy, who tried to go to third on a pitch in the dirt that eluded Varitek, and Figgins trying to steal second. … Guerrero’s first-inning single extended his hitting streak to eight games.