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Aceves blows another lead as Angels rally past Red Sox

The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Torii Hunter hit a walk-off sacrifice fly in the ninth inning against embattled Boston closer Alfredo Aceves to give the Los Angeles Angels a 6-5 win over the Red Sox on Tuesday night.

The Angels, who swept three games from the Red Sox at Fenway Park last week, snapped a two-game losing streak to stay within 4 1/2 games of the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles for the second wild-card berth in the American League.

"A win's a win. Our guys kept fighting," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We had good execution in the ninth inning and were able to steal a win."

Mike Trout continued his MVP campaign with three hits, including a home run, his 25th of the season. Trout also drove in the game-tying run in the ninth inning against Aceves, setting up Hunter's heroics.

Clay Buchholz allowed four runs in seven innings for the Red Sox, and he is 7-2 with a 2.89 ERA in his last 14 starts. Buchholz left with a lead, but that vanished when the Halos rallied in the ninth.

Aceves (2-9), who was suspended by the Red Sox for three games for conduct detrimental to the team, returned Tuesday and pitched a scoreless eighth, but he allowed two runs in the ninth to suffer the loss and his eighth blown save of the season.

Boston manager Bobby Valentine said he didn't want to use Andrew Bailey, who had pitched four of the previous five days. Junichi Tazawa was warming in the bullpen in the ninth inning for Boston, but only as a last resort.

"There wasn't much choice," Valentine said of his decision to stay with Aceves in the ninth inning.

Kevin Jepsen (3-2) pitched a scoreless top of the ninth to earn the win.

Albert Pujols homered and singled in his first game back in the lineup after missing four games due to right calf inflammation. Running the bases in the first inning after the single was the first real test for Pujols, who served as the Angels' designated hitter.

"You could see obviously (Pujols) was guarding it, but he came out of it OK," Scioscia said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow."

Trout led off the game with a home run over the wall in left-center field, one of two first-inning runs against Buchholz. Just three weeks after his 21st birthday, Trout is the youngest player in baseball history to have at least 25 home runs and 40 stolen bases in one season, and he is the first rookie to do so.

"It's great. But I really don't look at the individual stuff right now," Trout said. "Maybe when the season is over, but the only thing on my mind right now is to get the playoffs."

Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a solo home run to right field against Jered Weaver in the second inning to trim the Angels' lead to 2-1. It was the 22nd home run of the season for Saltalamacchia, which ranks second among major league catchers.

Saltalamacchia drove in the go-ahead run for Boston in the fourth inning in the middle of a three-run rally that saw the first five Red Sox hitters reach base via hit or walk. James Loney, playing in Southern California just three days after getting traded by the Dodgers, also had a run-scoring single in the fourth, giving him at least one RBI in all three of his games with the Red Sox.

NOTES: Howie Kendrick doubled in the sixth inning to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, the longest streak by an Angel this season. Kendrick is hitting .345 (19-for-55) during the streak. ... To make room for Aceves on the roster, the Red Sox placed left-hander Franklin Morales on the 15-day disabled list due to left shoulder fatigue. ... Zach Stewart, a right-handed pitcher acquired in the June 24 deal that sent third baseman Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox, is with the Red Sox and will be recalled Wednesday to start against the Angels. The team said a corresponding move would be made Wednesday to make room for Stewart. ... Angels left-handed reliever Scott Downs was placed on the family medical emergency list, meaning he will miss a minimum of three games. Downs flew to Kentucky on Sunday night to be with his family for an undisclosed reason. ... Outfielder Kole Calhoun was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake for his third stint with the Angels this season.
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