video thumbnail

LAA@BOS: Aybar collects four hits against the Red Sox

BOSTON -- The early evidence strongly suggests that Bobby Abreu's game-winning single in the wee hours of Thursday morning, ending seven hours and 35 minutes of rain and baseball at Fenway Park, liberated Angels hitters from whatever invisible force it was that had them bound and immobilized with runners on base.

The big breakthrough came later on Thursday in the series finale. With Peter Bourjos, Erick Aybar, Howard Kendrick and Abreu leading the way, the Angels pounded former ace John Lackey in an 11-0 romp behind Joel Pineiro and relievers Rich Thompson and Francisco Rodriguez.

"It seemed like there was a carry-over from Bobby's hit," Bourjos said, having scored four times with a double, two singles and getting hit by a pitch. "Everyone was calm and relaxed in the batter's box. We got back to playing Angels baseball -- being aggressive, going first to third, making things happen. It was fun."

Not so much for their former ace. Lackey was booed heavily by Fenway partisans, as disturbed by his 2-4 record and 7.16 ERA.

"Even though he's on the other side," Torii Hunter said, "we know him, love him. It's hard to see him get booed like that. He's going to be fine. He's just gotta keep grinding."

It was the largest margin of victory by an Angels team in a shutout of Boston in franchise history.

"I guess you could see I was effectively wild," Pineiro said, having lasted 5 2/3 innings. "My sinker was running all over the place. I don't think it's ever moved like that. I was able to get ground balls when I needed them, and the defense was great. But this was all about the offense.

"Hopefully that hit Bobby got did something for us, got something started. Everyone wanted to make that one play, get that one big hit. When they saw a veteran guy who was 0-for-6 go up there like it was nothing and come through like that, hopefully it was a momentum-changer."

Aybar produced four hits and scored twice. Bourjos and Kendrick produced three hits apiece. Abreu drove in three runs, Kendrick, Alberto Callaspo and Mark Trumbo two each. Trumbo's came with his second homer in as many Fenway games, a shot to left on a curveball by Lackey in the fifth inning -- the last pitch he threw.

"He got extended and one-handed it, and the ball got out in a hurry," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He drew two walks, too."

All nine starters collected hits in the finale of a 4-3 trip.

"They hit some good pitches," Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "At the same time, we left some pitches over the middle. But they were aggressive today, and we planned on that. We feel like they were just getting the right pitch at the right time."

Lackey, who left the Angels as a free agent after the 2009 season, had won his first four starts against his former club.

Having snapped Boston's six-game stranglehold this season with their 13-inning triumph early Thursday morning, the Angels began their Lackey bashing in the third inning, about 13 hours later.

Lackey hit Bourjos with a pitch leading off the third, and he scooted to third on Aybar's single. Kendrick cashed in Bourjos with an infield out. Hunter walked with two outs, Aybar having stolen second and third, and Callaspo doubled them home.

Lackey's frustration mounted an inning later as the Angels doubled their lead with five consecutive singles from Bourjos, Aybar, Kendrick, Abreu and Hunter. The merry-go-round was in motion, athletes racing from first to third.

Increasing rounds of boos directed at Lackey peaked in the fifth when Trumbo unloaded his second homer of the series following Vernon Wells' leadoff single.

Lackey departed having yielded eight runs on 10 hits in four-plus innings. Prior to Thursday, Lackey limited the Angels to eight earned runs in 29 1/3 innings in his first four outings against his former club -- and shut them out in eight innings 11 days earlier in Anaheim.

Trumbo, who is tied with Kendrick for the club lead with six homers, has a team-leading 17 RBIs.

"That's part of my game," Trumbo said. "I take a lot of pride in hitting with runners in scoring position, picking up runners."

Moving to right in the late innings, Trumbo showed his athleticism with a running catch, back to the infield, to rob Kevin Youkilis of extra bases.

Scott Atchison replaced Lackey, and the Angels continued to slash away. Bourjos doubled off diving shortstop Jed Lowrie, raced to third after kicking the throw out of Youkilis' glove covering second and trotted home on Aybar's third hit.

Abreu's two-out double following singles by Jeff Mathis and Bourjos, added a pair of runs in the seventh.

"Some guys were physically beat up a little and emotionally drained," Scioscia said. "To show up and play a terrific game today speaks a lot to the character of our club."

In his second start after recovering from back soreness, Pineiro made it through 98 pitches without premium command. A strong throw by Abreu erasing David Ortiz trying to stretch a single helped in the fifth, which ended with Saltalamacchia bouncing into the third of four Boston double plays.

Twelve of Pineiro's 17 outs came on the ground.

Thompson got four outs, and Rodriguez took care of the last two innings.

Ortiz had three hits for Boston, and Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 14 games with an eighth-inning single. Comments