BOSTON — Koji Uehara, the Red Sox normally lights-out closer, faltered on Tuesday against the Angels. Entering in the ninth inning of a tie game, Koji retired the first two batters he faced – Erick Aybar on a line out and David Freese on a strike out – before giving up consecutive doubles to Brennan Boesch and No. 9 hitter Chris Iannetta, giving the Angels a 4-3 win.
Including a home run on Saturday, it is the first time this season Uehara has given up runs in consecutive outings. He took the loss, falling to 5-3, as his ERA rose from 1.40 to 1.53.
Yoenis Cespedes, not in the starting lineup for the first time since joining the Sox, pinch-hit for Christian Vazquez against Angels closer Huston Street, leading off the ninth with a single to left, taking second on Brock Holt’s sacrifice bunt. But Dustin Pedroia struck out before David Ortiz was intentionally walked. But Mike Napoli struck out on a slider from Street, ending the Sox rally and the game.
Neither starter was involved in the decision. Allen Webster, who continues to show improvement, went six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts and a hit batter. He lowered his ERA from 4.79 to 4.73.
Jered Weaver started for the Angels, going 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and four walks with one strikeout, one home run, and one wild pitch.
The Sox took the early lead with David Ortiz’s 29th home run of the season, a solo shot with two outs in the first.
But the Angels came back with three runs in the third, sending seven batters to the plate. Iannetta hit a one-out double, scoring on Kole Calhoun’s single. Mike Trout’s triple scored Calhoun, with Albert Pujols’ single scoring Trout to put the Angels ahead, 3-1.
The Sox got a run back in the fifth when Pedroia hit a one-out single and Ortiz walked, with both advancing on a wild pitch to Napoli by Weaver. Pedroia scored as Napoli grounded out.
The Sox tied the game in the sixth when Xander Bogaerts led off with a walk, going to third on Christian Vazquez’s one-out double, ending Weaver’s outing. Brock Holt’s sacrifice fly off Jason Grilli tied the game, 3-3.
Joe Smith, with a perfect eighth, got the win for Angels, improving to 5-1. Street recorded his 10th save with the Angels, 34th overall.
MVP: Chris Iannetta
Iannetta went 2-for-3 with two doubles, a run scored, an RBI, and a walk. His ninth-inning double scored Brennan Boesch with the go-ahead run.
GOAT: Koji Uehara
Uehara allowed consecutive two-out doubles in the ninth for the go-ahead run.
Kole Calhoun robbed Brock Holt in the second inning of a potential three-run homer, leaping at the bullpen wall to pull the drive in, ending the inning.
NUMBERS TO KNOW:
David Ortiz’s two-out solo homer in the first was his 29th of the season and 460th of his career. He went 2-for-3 with two walks, one intentional, reaching base four times for the second straight game…Mike Napoli went 1-for-5 and has reached base in 15 straight starts in which he is batting .241, going 13-for-54…Dustin Pedroia went 1-for-5 and has hit safely in 15 of his last 17 starts. He is batting .351, going 27-for-77 in those games…Yoenis Cespedes pinch-hit for Christian Vazquez in the ninth, leading off with a single. It was the first pinch hit of his career. He is now 1-for-4 as a pinch-hitter…Brock Holt snapped his career-best 12-game hitting streak…Will Middlebrooks left the game in the fourth inning with tightness in his right hamstring. He is day to day…David Ross is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Wednesday, with Daniel Butler going back to Pawtucket.
WHAT IT MEANS:
The Sox have lost three in a row and four of their last five games. They played their American League-leading 48th one-run game, falling to 24-24 in those games.
The Sox and Angels will play the third game of their four-game series Wednesday at Fenway at 7:10 p.m. Right-hander Clay Buchholz (5-7, 5.79) is scheduled to start, opposed by right-hander Garrett Richards (13-4, 2.53). It will be a rematch of their Aug. 9 outings, a 19-inning Angels win in Anaheim.
Buchholz went eight innings in that game, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. In his last outing, Aug. 15 against the Astros, Buchholz again took a no-decision, going seven innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walk with nine strikeouts. In his last five outings he is 0-2, with a 6.68 ERA, giving up 24 runs, 23 earned, over 31 innings.
Richards will be making his 26th start of the season, 15ht on the road, and second against the Sox. On Aug. 9, he threw six no-hit innings, before giving up one run on three hits in the seventh. In three August starts, he is 2-0 with a 1.19 ERA, allowing three earned runs over 22 2/3 innings.