PALMER TAKES DOWN WAKEFIELD, SOX (12:34, END 9, 8-4 ANGELS)
Matt Palmer finished off his dominant night by retiring the final 19 batters he faced, including a strike out of Mike Lowell for the final out. The Red Sox gave Tim Wakefield an early 4-0 lead, but the Angels stormed ahead with a five-run third inning, keyed by Mike Napoli’s three-run home run, and never looked back. Flamethrowing rookie Daniel Bard made his major league debut, striking out Napoli, the first batter he faced, on three straight fastballs. Wakefield gets the loss in worst outing of the season and only his second loss.
PALMER KEEPS IT GOING (12:21, MID 8, 8-4 ANGELS)
Matt Palmer, a 30-year-old making his seventh career start, might throw a complete game tonight. He’s needed 96 pitches to get through eight inning after his fifth consecutive 1-2-3 inning, and he’s faced the minimum since the second ended. Bay’s single in the third is the last hit Palmer allowed, and he’s retired 16 straight.
Takashi Saito has replaced Bard.
THE NIGHT FOR BARD (12:16, END 7, 8-4 ANGELS)
Bard allowed his first and first walk, but he finished his first career appearance by allowing no runs in two innings. Bard continued to hit 95 and up on the scoreboard’s radar gun, which Francona has declared slow in the past. Erick Aybar bounced out to Green. Figgins singled to centerfield. Willits popped to Green. Figgins took advantage of Bard’s inexperience, taking off for a steal before Bard had even started his motion toward home plate because he had him timed so well. Bard then walked Abreu on a full count, which drew a visit from pitching coach John Farrell. Hunter ended the inning by grounding a 95-mph fastball to Luguo, who flipped to Green covering second.
PALMER STILL ROLLING (12:01, MID 7, 8-4 ANGELS)
Palmer could hardly have been worse for the first two innings, and since he’s been unhittable. The Sox have one hit since there was one out in the second, and Palmer has retired 13 straight.
Bard remains in the game.
BARD OUT OF SIXTH (11:55, END 6, 8-4 ANGELS)
Rivera ended up flying out deep to right, sending Hunter to the plate. Bard got out of the inning with a grounder to Lowell.
GASSING UP (11:52, BOT 6, 7-4 ANGELS)
Bard fired three high fastballs at Napoli, and he swung and missed all of them. The speeds of all three, as registered by the notoriously slow Angels Stadium gun: 94, 95, 97. Napoli looked flat-footed as he swung. Wow. Just as advertised for Bard. Rivera is flailing away now, late on everything Bard throws.
HERE COMES BARD (11:47, BOT 6, 7-4 ANGELS)
Terry Francona is lifting the curtain on Daniel Bard. Hunter walked and Morales shot a ground-rule double to left to lead off the inning, so this is how Bard will make his debut: runners on second and third, no outs, Mike Napoli at the plate.
THREE UP, THREE DOWN (11:42, MID 6, 7-4 ANGELS)
Ortiz grounded to second, Bay struck out swinging, and Lowell flied to left. That’s 10 in a row for Palmer, and he’s faced the minimum for the past 14 batters. Jones remains in the game, and Daniel Bard is warming up.
JONES LIMITS DAMAGE (11:36, END 5, 7-4 ANGELS)
Jones got his man, inducing Abreu to fly down the leftfield line to Bay.
ANGELS PILE ON, KNOCK OUT WAKEFIELD (11:33, BOT 5, 7-4 ANGELS)
Wakefield spent the first six weeks of the season as the best starting pitcher the Red Sox could offer, compiling a 2.93 ERA and a 4-1 record. The sterling start unraveled tonight in 4 2/3 innings. Willits just smacked an RBI single to left, giving the Angels seven unanswered runs and sending Wakefield for the clubhouse. Wakefield had poor control tonight, and the Angels had their way. Jones is in for him, pitching with two on and two out.
PALM READINGS (11:25, MID 5, 6-4 ANGELS)
Make it 11 in a row for Palmer since Green’s double in the second. Green flied to center, Ellsbury struck out swinging at a ball in the dirt, and Lugo flied to right. Palmer, 30, is making his seventh career start, and he’s showing a lot of poise after his poor start.
HUNTER LOSES ONE (11:20, BOT 4, 6-4 ANGELS)
Abreu popped up to short to lead off the inning, but that didn’t signify Wakefield’s return. Hunter, who takes some wicked cuts against Wakefield, crushed a ball high down the leftfield that hooked around the foul pole and into the seats for a solo homer. Wakefield got out of the inning with two quick outs, but the Angels added a bit of breathing room. Hunter is 16 for 41 (.390) against Wakefield with four home runs. Before tonight, he was slugging .632 off him. After a single and a home run in three at bats, that’s gone up.
THAT WAS QUICK (11:14, MID 4, 5-4 ANGELS)
The Sox went down in order. It’s almost like the teams switched jerseys during the middle of the third inning. Palmer got a liner to left from Drew, a grounder to third from Bailey, and a ground to second from Kottaras. Palmer has settled into a rhythm after a horrendous start, retiring the last eight batters he’s faced.
THIRD IS LONG (11:10, END 3, 5-4 ANGELS)
Figgins walked to put two men on with one out, but Willits, the 10th batter of the inning, ended the rally with a pop up to Lugo. Wakefield and the Sox had been cruising. Suddenly, they’re losing. Big spot for the offense to respond.
JONES WARMING (11:05, BOT 3, 5-4 ANGELS)
Hunter Jones is up in the Red Sox bullpen as Wakefield tries to limit the damage. Rivera grounded out to second. Kendrick walked. Aybar flied to left.
NAPOLI STRIKES AGAIN (11:02, BOT 3, 5-4 ANGELS)
A hot start for the Red Sox tonight and for Tim Wakefield this season has turned dramatically in an ugly third inning. Red Sox killer Mike Napoli just blasted a three-run home run to center, which followed an RBI single by Morales. Napoli is 6 for 12 with three of of his six home runs this season.
ANGELS ON THE BOARD (10:57, BOT 3, 4-1 SOX)
The Angels scored their first run and, with two on and no outs, they’re threatening for more. Reggie Willits reached on an infield single after Green made a tremendous diving stop with his backhand on a ball hit sharply up the middle. Willits was too fast for Green’s throw, and then he was too fast for the Wakefield-Kottaras combo and stole second. Abreu walked. Hunter ripped a single through the left side, plating Willits.
GOING DOWN (10:51, MID 3, 4-0 SOX)
Palmer had his first positive inning of the night. Ortiz popped to left. Bay singled to left. Lowell grounded into a 3-6-1 double play. Palmer is throwing a lot of cutters, and they finally stifled the Sox that inning, expect for Bay.
WAKEFIELD ESCAPES (10:46, END 2, 4-0 SOX)
Wakefield allowed no runs after finding himself in a jam. He struck out Erick Aybar swinging at a knuckler in the first, and Figgins’s line drive to right fell into J.D. Drew’s glove.
ANGELS THREATENING (10:43, BOT 2, 4-0 SOX)
The Angels have loaded the bases with one hit. Kendry Morales rolled a ball up the middle, which Green tried to backhand but couldn’t. The ball deflected off his glove and trickled into the outfield for an error. Napoli followed with a sharp single to left. After Juan Rivera flied to center, Kendrick walked to load the bases with one out.
ROLE WITH IT (10:34, TOP 2, 4-0 SOX)
Three role players joined forces for two runs against Matt Palmer, who’s had a shaky night thus far. With one out, Jeff Bailey and George Kottaras drew consecutive walks. Nick Green followed with a double into the leftfield corner, scoring Bailey and sending Kottaras to third. Ellsbury grounded out to second, which plated Kottaras. Lugo is batting with a man on third, two outs.
WAKE UP (10:22, END 1, 2-0 SOX)
Another strong start for Tim Wakefield. He retired the Angels with allowing just one hit, an infield single. Chone Figgins grounded to first. Willits flied to right. Bobby Abreu hit a bouncer then just barely made it over Wakefield’s head and then died in the middle of the diamond. Torii Hunter flied to center, ending the inning. Wakefield needed 14 pitches.
BAY BLASTS ONE (10:16, MID 1, 2-0 SOX)
Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single up the box. After Julio Lugo popped out to second, Ellsbury tried stealing second. Mike Napoli made a great, quick throw and nailed him. David Ortiz flared a soft single into shallow centerfield, and the fireworks happened. Bay crushed the first pitch he saw from Matt Palmer into the Angels bullpen, a two-run blast that gave Tim Wakefield an early lead. Mike Lowell followed with a deep drive to center, but Torii Hunter made the catch on the warning track.
Also, Reggie Willits replaced Gary Matthews in leftfield and as the second batter in the Angels lineup.