BOSTON (AP) — Exactly five hours of playing time. More than 2 1/2 hours of rain delay. A total of 14 pitchers and 13 innings. And, finally, one decisive swing.
Bobby Abreu hit a two-run, two-out single off first-time reliever Daisuke Matsuzaka in the 13th and the Los Angeles Angels closed out a 5-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox at 2:45 a.m. on the East Coast on Thursday.
“It was a game where there could have been some letdown,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, “but the guys hung in there and came out in the end.”
Boston, hitless for the first 6 1-3 innings, tied the score with two runs in the ninth inning and nearly won it in the 12th against Trevor Bell (1-0), but Marco Scutaro was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on Kevin Youkilis’ double high off the wall in left.
“I thought that was the ball game,” Bell said. “I started to walk off the field.”
Daniel Bard, who pitched the 11th and 12th for Boston, was ready to jump on it.
“When I saw the ball by Youkilis off the wall, I was on the top step ready to celebrate,” he said. “It took a perfect relay to get him. … They’re aggressive mistakes. I’d rather see that than the other way around.”
Youkilis advanced on Darnell McDonald’s infield single, but Jed Lowrie grounded out.
Running out of pitchers, Boston manager Terry Francona turned to Matsuzaka (2-3) as his seventh reliever of the night — and morning.
Matsuzaka, who has started 103 games in five seasons with the Red Sox, surrendered a leadoff single to Howie Kendrick. Vernon Wells flied out and Jeff Mathis popped up, but Peter Bourjos singled and Erick Aybar walked to load the bases.
“It took a lot of guts on his part,” Bard said of Matsuzaka. “He took one for the team.”
Abreu, who had been 0 for 6 with two strikeouts, then lined his single to right-center field.
“Bobby actually hit the ball pretty well,” Scioscia said. “He didn’t have a lot to show for it.”
His hit, though, gave the Angels their first win over the Red Sox in seven games this season and kept them tied for first in the AL West with the Texas Rangers. The Red Sox missed a chance to reach .500 for the first time this year as their winning streak ended at three games.
The game had been interrupted by a steady rain after Josh Beckett struck out Kendrick leading off the fifth, and Beckett didn’t return after the delay.
Los Angeles starter Ervin Santana was dominant for four innings, striking out seven and issuing one walk.
“I was really in command of all of my pitches,” he said. “No matter what time it is, we stayed together. At the end, we got it.”
Rich Thompson replaced him when the game resumed and pitched 1 2-3 hitless innings before Scott Downs retired the last batter in the sixth. Downs also got the first out in the seventh before Lowrie got Boston’s first hit on a clean single to right.
The difficulty of rescheduling the game — the series finale is Thursday afternoon and the teams had no common off day — led to the unusually long rain delay.
“Sitting around’s the worst part for everyone,” said Jason Varitek, who caught all 13 innings for Boston. “It is late. Both teams grinded a lot tonight.”
In the bottom of the seventh, a cleanup crew was at work in the mostly empty bleachers. And by the end, only a few thousand spectators remained.
Adrian Gonzalez hit an RBI single in the eighth and Boston added two more in the ninth to tie it at 3.
Then Bell, who was called up April 22, allowed four hits and one walk with three strikeouts in four innings.
“He was strectched out to 100 pitches a few weeks ago in the minors,” Scioscia said.
Wells, batting .176 mostly from the fifth spot in the lineup, hit seventh for the first time in his career and connected for a two-run drive in the seventh inning. Wells’ third homer of the season scored Kendrick, who reached on a leadoff double.
Aybar added a sacrifice fly in the ninth, but Boston rallied in the bottom half.
Lowrie led off with a walk and took second on Mike Cameron’s single. Jordan Walden’s wild pitch sent Lowrie to third and when catcher Hank Conger threw wildly to try to get him, Lowrie scored.
But the ball bounced and stayed in the infield when it hit third-base umpire John Hirschbeck, allowing Aybar to field it and throw Cameron out at third.
Carl Crawford then doubled, and, after Varitek struck out, Jacoby Ellsbury lined a full-count pitch to right field for the tying single.
NOTES: Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia went 0 for 6 with four strikeouts. … Before the game, Scioscia said, “We’re still trying to get different dimensions of our lineup. We’re still waiting for Vernon to get going.” … Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 12 games and Gonzalez stretched his to 11. … Boston DH David Ortiz fouled a ball off his right foot in the second but stayed in the game and struck out.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)