LOS ANGELES — Red Sox manager John Farrell sat in the dugout before Sunday night’s game against the Dodgers chatting about how angry some starting pitchers get when they are taken out of the game.
Farrell said he respects that emotion but has to do what’s right for the team.
Once the game started, Jake Peavy made sure Farrell never had a reason to take so much as a step toward the mound. If he had, there might have been a tussle.
In his best performance with the Red Sox, Peavy went the distance and scattered three hits in a convincing 8-1 victory against the Dodgers before a crowd of 44,109.
“It was a good night for the boys,” Peavy said. “That was a lot of fun.”
The Sox took two of three games from the Dodgers, who were the hottest team in baseball. The Dodgers had not lost a series since June 14-16.
“They were hot. But we’re not a bad team,” said Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who had a two-run homer, part of a 12-hit attack. “We know what we have to do. We just have to go out there and play the game. I don’t think we were happy with how the last few weeks have gone. We expect a lot more out of ourselves.”
The Red Sox were fortunate to miss Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, the Dodgers’ two best starters. But the Sox had superb pitching all weekend and the starters had a 1.17 earned run average on a 4-2 road trip.
The Dodgers hit .129 in the series and scored only five runs. Peavy gave up a home run to Adrian Gonzalez in the fourth inning and was otherwise barely touched. He retired the final nine batters in a row for his second complete game of the season.
Peavy (10-5) walked one and struck out five.
“It meant something to me to finish it,” he said.
Peavy is 14-2 with a 2.21 ERA in 25 career starts against the Dodgers. Sunday was his first time facing them since 2009 but nothing had changed.
“Jake was outstanding tonight,” Farrell said. “He threw some big pitches when he needed to.”
That the series clincher came on the one-year anniversary of the trade of Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers made it all the sweeter for the Red Sox.
After the Dodgers won the first game of the series on Friday, Crawford said he wanted a sweep. He instead watched home runs by Mike Napoli, Saltalamacchia, and Shane Victorino sail over his head in left field.
Napoli’s two-run blast halfway up the bleachers in the ninth inning was the capper.
Napoli is 5 for 8 with four RBIs in the last two games. After being out of the lineup for a week with a sore left foot, he appears to have shaken off the slump that has hampered him for the better part of two months.
“I was feeling better before I got some rest,” Napoli said “My body feels rested. But I’m feeling better and it’s starting to show.”
The Red Sox have won consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 6-7 at Houston and with Tampa Bay losing, they have a one-game lead in the American League East with 30 games to play.
The Red Sox are off Monday and start a three-game series at Fenway Park against Baltimore Tuesday.
The Sox have a 13-5 record in interleague games and have outscored the NL teams by 66 runs.
Dodgers starter Chris Capuano, a 35-year-old native of West Springfield, had pitched 233 games over nine seasons in the majors without facing the Red Sox.
His first time against the team he grew up rooting for did not go well. He lasted five innings and gave up three runs on six hits. Capuano (4-7) walked one and struck out three.
Victorino pulled a double to left field with one out in the first inning and took third when Dustin Pedroia reached on an infield single. Napoli’s double to right center hopped over the fence and Pedroia had to stop at third.
That cost the Sox a run. The Dodgers intentionally walked Jonny Gomes before Will Middlebrooks grounded into a double play.
The Sox used some National League-style small ball to go up 2-0 in the third inning. Jacoby Ellsbury singled and stole second before Victorino bunted him to third. Pedroia’s sacrifice fly to center scored the run.
Middlebrooks snapped an 0-for-10 streak with a single in the fourth inning and came around when rookie Xander Bogaerts doubled to center field.
Napoli drew a walk to start the sixth inning off reliever Chris Withrow. Saltalamacchia then homered to the opposite field with two outs.
The Sox kept pouring it on in the seventh when Victorino homered to left field. It was his second home run hitting righthanded against a righthander this season.
Victorino, a switch hitter, has been batting exclusively righthanded in recent weeks because of a sore left hamstring. He has nine home runs on the season.Continued...