BOSTON (AP) — J.D. Martinez and the Boston Red Sox keep piling up big offensive numbers — not to mention wins — against the Los Angeles Angels.
Martinez hit his major league-leading 25th home run, Rafael Devers delivered a tiebreaking double and the Red Sox beat the skidding Angels 9-6 on Wednesday night after squandering a six-run lead.
Boston (54-27) moved into first place in the AL East, a half-game ahead of the rival New York Yankees. After finishing their series with the Angels on Thursday night, the Red Sox play three games at Yankee Stadium this weekend.
The homer by Martinez capped a six-run second for the Red Sox, who won for the fifth time in six games. Eduardo Nunez and Sandy Leon also went deep in the inning. Boston improved to 5-0 against the Angels this season and has outscored them 45-10 with 18 homers and a .363 batting average.
It’s the most homers by any club in a season series of six games or fewer, according to the Red Sox.
“I don’t know. That’s just what it is, really. There’s no one explanation,” Martinez said. “Maybe we just match up well against them.”
Martin Maldonado launched a three-run homer and Ian Kinsler had a solo shot for the Angels, who lost their fifth straight and 12th in 16 games.
Los Angeles reliever Jake Jewell was carted off the field with what appeared to be a gruesome injury to his right ankle after covering the plate on a run-scoring wild pitch in the eighth.
“He’s getting evaluated, I think, at Massachusetts General,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. “Hopefully we’ll get an idea of what’s happening sometime tonight.”
Angels star Mike Trout went 1 for 4 as a sprained right index finger kept him as the designated hitter for the eighth consecutive game.
Devers doubled off reliever Jose Alvarez (3-3) in the seventh, putting Boston back in front 7-6, and scored on Leon’s single in a game that took 4 hours.
“It was a weird game, slow pace,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “I’m glad we won the game. Not a pretty game to watch.”
Matt Barnes (2-2) worked a scoreless inning. Craig Kimbrel got four outs for his 23rd save, his first of more than three outs this season.
The Angels trailed 6-0 and looked as though they were in line for another lopsided loss to Boston before they charged back with a run in the fifth on Kinsler’s homer, three in the sixth on Maldonado’s shot and two in the seventh.
“We battled back and got in the game. We’ll keep battling,” Scioscia said. “But, at some point, obviously we need to put both ends together and get the pitching we need, get some early runs and get the game on our terms and we’re going to start to do things the way we can.”
Andrelton Simmons’ RBI double off reliever Joe Kelly tied it.
Martinez’s shot went over the Green Monster in left-center, raising his big league-best RBI total to 64. In his first season with Boston, the slugger has the most home runs in Red Sox history before the end of June.
Nunez hit Andrew Heaney’s first pitch of the second into the center-field bleachers. Leon drove an inside fastball off a billboard above the Green Monster.
Boston starter Rick Porcello gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings. Heaney was tagged for six runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Angels: INF Zack Cozart got a second opinion on his left shoulder after experiencing continued discomfort and plans to have surgery in Los Angeles soon to repair a torn labrum, the team said. … Scioscia said two-way rookie star Shohei Ohtani (sprained elbow ligament) will be re-evaluated Thursday. Three weeks ago, Ohtani’s elbow was injected with platelet-rich plasma and stem cells as he tries to avoid Tommy John surgery.
Red Sox: Cora said 2B Dustin Pedroia and knuckleballer Steven Wright will see Dr. Riley Williams III when the club is in New York to play the Yankees this weekend. Both are on the 10-day DL with left knee inflammation and had surgery performed by Dr. Williams. “Maybe we can do something differently as far as the treatments,” Cora said about Pedroia, who has played in just three games since offseason surgery. … Drew Pomeranz threw a simulated game and Cora said the left-hander could start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday.
The Red Sox signed infielder Brandon Phillips to a minor league deal. The 36-year-old veteran has played with five teams over 16 seasons.
Angels: RHP Jamie Barria (5-3, 3.40 ERA) is slated to pitch the series finale Thursday. It will be his first career start against Boston.
Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson (1-2, 4.50) takes Wright’s turn in the rotation after he went on the disabled list Tuesday.