ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Red Sox reinstated Alfredo Aceves to their roster on Tuesday night, the righthander having served a three-game suspension for his reaction at not being used as the closer in a game last week.
Manager Bobby Valentine challenged Aceves right away, asking him to get a six-out save against the Los Angeles Angels.
He only got four of those outs, the Angels scoring twice in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Red Sox, 6-5.
Aceves retired the side in order in the eighth inning, overwhelming the Angels with his fastball. With one out in the ninth, Aceves hit Erick Aybar in the foot with a pitch. After Aybar stole second, pinch hitter Alberto Callaspo walked on four pitches.
Mike Trout, the 21-year-old MVP candidate, was next.
Aceves got ahead of him 0 and 2. His next pitch, a fastball, was lined into center to drive in a run.
“Too much [of the plate],” Valentine said of the pitch.
Callaspo went to third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Torii Hunter as the Angels celebrated a win they desperately needed to stay in the wild-card race.
Aceves has blown eight saves. The Sox have suffered walkoff losses six times this season and they are 13-17 in games decided by one run.
Aceves would not comment after the game.
Valentine had Junichi Tazawa warming up when the game ended. But Aceves, he said, was the best option in an overworked bullpen. Andrew Bailey, who pitched in four of the previous five games, was not available. Mark Melancon also was being rested.
Catcher Ryan Lavarnway, who went to the mound several times in the ninth inning to try to settle Aceves down, said the pitch to Trout was in the right location.
“It was inside after we worked him away. It shattered his bat but he was able to muscle it into center field,” Lavarnway said.
Trout was 3 for 5 with a homer and two RBIs. He is hitting .340 with 74 RBIs and 101 runs in 106 games.
“He’s one of the best players I’ve seen in a long time,” Valentine said.
Clay Buchholz allowed four runs on six hits over seven innings. He walked three and struck out five. He left with a 5-4 lead that Aceves could not hold. The Sox are 0-4 against the Angels this season.
“That’s a tough loss,” said Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who homered and drove in two runs against Jered Weaver. “We were able to score some runs off a tough pitcher.”
The Red Sox have turned their attention to next season, sending out a lineup that included five players who started the season in Triple A.
The Angels, who started the day 4½ games out in the wild-card race, are fighting to stay in contention. Albert Pujols, who missed four games with a strained right calf, returned to the lineup after getting through a pregame workout. He was the designated hitter.
Pujols contributed to a rough first inning for Buchholz as the Angels took a 2-0 lead.
Trout lined Buchholz’s second pitch over the wall in left field. Trout is the youngest player, and first rookie, to reach 25 home runs and 40 steals in a season.
Hunter walked following the home run and took third on a single by Pujols to left field. Buchholz struck out Kendry Morales swinging at a curveball. Mark Trumbo drove in the second run with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Weaver held the Red Sox to two runs over seven innings last week at Fenway. When he retired the side in order on 10 pitches in the first inning, it looked like more of the same. But the Red Sox had different plans this time around.
Saltalamacchia worked the count full in the second inning, then hit a curveball into the stands in right field for his 22d home run. It was his first home run as the designated hitter this season.
It was the first home run by a Red Sox DH since July 13, a span of 160 at-bats.
The Sox took the lead with three runs in the fourth inning.
Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury singled before Ryan Lavarnway walked to load the bases. Singles by James Loney and Saltalamacchia drove in runs.
Lavarnway scored when Ryan Kalish grounded into a double play. With Loney on third base, Jose Iglesias grounded to shortstop to end the inning.
For Loney, it was his third RBI in three games as a member of the Red Sox.
The lead grew to 5-2 in the sixth inning.
Ellsbury, who has hit safely in eight consecutive games and 13 of the last 16, led off with a single. He stole second and went to third when the throw from catcher Chris Iannetta sailed into center field.
Lavarnway, who batted cleanup for the first time in 22 major league starts, came through with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Buchholz sailed into the sixth inning having thrown only 65 pitches. He also had retired 10 consecutive batters and 15 of 16.Continued...