Gonzalez’s double lifts Red Sox in 11
ANAHEIM, Calif. — As the Red Sox try to find a way to turn their season around, the blueprint used last night should be thrown away.
An agonizing game turned successful in the 11th inning as the Red Sox got an RBI double from Adrian Gonzalez to beat the Los Angeles Angels, 4-2. It was their fifth victory in the last six games.
"We'll take anything," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "We had a few opportunities. We've not been doing very well with a runner on third with less than two outs. That's an understatement."
The Red Sox put 20 runners on base against six Angels pitchers but were 2 for 18 with runners in scoring position and left 15 runners on base.
"I do think think they even out and I can't wait," he said. "We get opportunities and we'll cash in."
Said Gonzalez: "I'll take 15 runners stranded with a W."
The trend finally turned in the 11th against Rich Thompson (0-1). J.D. Drew walked and went to third on a single by Dustin Pedroia. Gonzalez ripped the next pitch into right field for a double.
Jed Lowrie’s sacrifice fly with bases loaded added another run.
Bobby Jenks (1-1) pitched an inning for the win with Jonathan Papelbon recording his fourth save. The Sox are 10-1 against the Angels since the start of last season.
Red Sox starter Josh Beckett threw 125 pitches (79 strikes) over eight innings, allowing three hits with two walks. It was the most pitches for a Sox starter since Jon Lester threw 130 in his no-hitter in 2008 and one shy of Beckett’s career high.
"I thought he was still throwing the ball pretty well," Francona said. "I didn't really see a reason to take him out."
"I don't that's ever usual. But, you know what, I felt good," Beckett said. "He [Francona] believed in me. That's all I can ask for."
Beckett also will get an extra day of rest with the day off coming up on Monday.
"I felt like I made pitches when I needed to except for one," Beckett said. "The one pitch Torii (Hunter) hit wasn't the worst that inning."
The righthander has allowed three runs and eight hits over 23 innings in his last three starts, dropping his earned run average to 1.93.
Erick Aybar, who broke up Beckett’s no-hitter in the sixth inning, led off the eighth with a shot into the right-field corner, but was thrown out trying for a triple as Drew made an accurate throw to cutoff man Pedroia, who fired a one-hop strike to third.
Beckett then set down the Angels from there.
David Ortiz walked and pinch runner Darnell McDonald stole second in the ninth, but Lowrie flied to center. Daniel Bard retired the Angels in order to send the game into extra innings.
Beckett cruised into the sixth inning having allowed only a leadoff walk to Maicer Izturis in the fourth. He lost the no-hitter when Aybar chopped a 1-and-2 fastball in front of the plate. The ball bounced high and to the right of the mound, giving Beckett no chance at making a play.
Unruffled, Beckett retired the side in order from there.
The shutout disappeared in the seventh inning. Bobby Abreu drew a leadoff walk and jogged home when Beckett left a 3-and-2 fastball up and over the middle of the plate to Torii Hunter and he crunched it over the wall in center.
The Sox did not lack for scoring chances early in the game against Tyler Chatwood, a 21-year-old righthander making his third major league start.
Pedroia and Gonzalez had one-out singles in the first inning. Kevin Youkilis, on the 10th pitch of the at-bat, grounded to Aybar at shortstop for a double play.
Youkilis fouled a ball off his left shin during the at-bat and left the game after playing the field in the bottom of the first inning.
Ortiz started the second inning by pounding a double off the wall in right field. He moved to third base when Lowrie grounded to second. But Carl Crawford grounded to first and Jason Varitek struck out swinging.
That left the Red Sox 6 of 40 this season with a runner on third and fewer than two outs.
Pedroia walked with two outs in the third inning and stole second. He jammed his surgically repaired left foot awkwardly into the base and was attended to by manager Terry Francona and a trainer before staying in the game.
With Youkilis out of the game, the Red Sox did not have an infielder on the bench.
Gonzalez was walked intentionally to get to Marco Scutaro, batting in Youkilis’s cleanup spot, and he flied to center field.
Crawford and Varitek drew two-out walks in the fourth inning before Jacoby Ellsbury flied to left.
Chatwood had put seven runners on base and thrown 73 pitches through four innings, but the Sox had managed not to score.
The Sox finally pushed some runs across in the sixth inning.
Ortiz walked before Lowrie singled. In a curious piece of strategy, Crawford put down a sacrifice bunt to get to Varitek, the team’s weakest hitter. Varitek struck out on four pitches, waving weakly at a curveball.
Ellsbury saved the Sox, breaking his bat on a 95-mile-per-hour fastball, but getting enough of the ball to drop it into right field for a two-run single.
Ellsbury was caught stealing to end the inning, but the damage had been done.
Chatwood was finished after six innings and 103 pitches. Reliever Hisanori Takahashi walked Drew and Pedroia to start the seventh inning. Gonzalez swung at the first pitch he saw and popped to third. Scutaro and Ortiz then struck out looking.
Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com.