ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Both Boston manager Terry Francona and Los Angeles’ Mike Scioscia decided to walk the opposing team’s slugger with a runner at second base. Francona ordered an intentional walk to the Angels’ Vladimir Guerrero in the first inning, and Scioscia did it with David Ortiz up with two outs and a one run lead in the ninth.
Scioscia’s strategy, coming at the more critical point of the game, paid off as Kevin Youkilis flied out to end the game, and Los Angeles held on for a 4-3 victory over the Red Sox on Tuesday night.
“Vlad and David Ortiz are in a special class of players with Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa,” Scioscia said. “They make you consider doing things that are really taboo because of the protocol of fundamental strategy in baseball. But these guys are special players. The fact that it’s even considered is a great compliment to the talent of those two guys.”
Juan Rivera homered and Garret Anderson drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single, sending the short-handed Red Sox to their sixth straight loss. Guerrero doubled twice and scored the deciding run, helping the Angels improve to a season-best eight games over .500.
The Red Sox remained 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the AL East and four games back of Chicago for the wild card. The Yankees lost 6-5 at Seattle, and the White Sox were blanked 4-0 at Detroit.
Guerrero received his intentional walk after a two-out double by Orlando Cabrera. Both runners advanced on a double-steal, but Anderson was called out on strikes. The only other time this season that Guerrero was walked intentionally in the opening inning was Aug. 5 in a 10-3 win against Texas, when he received three intentional passes and one other walk.
“When Vlad’s in a game and a manager wants to take him out as much as he can, I’ve seen them go to extremes. So it didn’t totally surprise me,” Scioscia said. “Obviously, Terry felt comfortable going after Garret in that situation, and we’re fine with that. Garret’s been on an RBI tear, and we had a chance to get him to swing the bat with a couple of guys on. “
Boston’s losing streak is its longest since a nine-game drought from Aug. 25-Sept. 4, 2001, and their 15 losses this month are the most by the team in any month since August 2002 (12-15).
“It’s not been a lot of fun right now, and it’s not supposed to be,” Francona said. “It’s horrible. But we’re going to keep plugging. Not only do me and the staff believe in them, I really think they believe in themselves as a team. We’re going to make sure we continue to try to pound the positives and fix the negatives.
“It’s easy to be manager when things are going good, and we’ve had plenty of good times,” Francona added. “But I’m not going to bail on these guys now, or the organization. We’re going to figure out a way to right this thing.”
The Red Sox, coming off a humbling five-game sweep by the Yankees that ended Monday, began a nine-game road trip with right fielder Manny Ramirez and shortstop Alex Gonzalez out of the starting lineup.
Ramirez, batting .330 with 34 homers and 100 RBIs, was sidelined because of a cramp in his right hamstring that forced him out of Monday’s game. He pinch-hit in the ninth inning and flied out to center, ending a string of getting on base in 19 straight plate appearances. Gonzalez was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 19, because of a strained oblique muscle in his right side.
Leading 3-2 with two outs in the seventh, Scioscia replaced reliever Brendan Donnelly with Scot Shields (7-7) just before Ortiz came up—despite the fact that Ortiz had homered off Shields on July 29 at Boston.
“I don’t know Mike’s reasoning—I’m just glad he did it,” Shields said. “Brendan did a heck of a job leading up to that, and I wasn’t sure what they were going to do. They decided to go with me, and I thank them for the respect they showed for me. Ortiz’s has gotten me a few times over the last couple of years, but I like facing those guys in that situation.”
Shields walked Ortiz, who came all the way home with the tying run on a double by Youkilis that got past a diving Anderson just inside the left field line.
The Angels regained the lead in the bottom half when Guerrero doubled with two out and scored on Anderson’s hit to right-center against Kason Gabbard (0-1).
Francisco Rodriguez got the last three outs for his 35th save, retiring Youkilis on a flyball to the warning track in right field after the intentional walk to Ortiz.
“We’ve had our good times this year, and this if probably our worst time right now,” Youkilis said. “But we had a bad drought before and we came back and won 12 straight.”
Pedroia, who started at SS, was 1-for-3 in his big league debut. … Boston pitchers have given up 14 intentional walks, the fewest in the majors. … All three pitchers the Red Sox are starting against the Angels, including Jon Lester and Josh Beckett—entered this series looking for their first win against them. … Tuesday was Carl Yastrzemski’s 67th birthday.