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Angels sweep away Red Sox in 5-2 victory

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Zack Greinke holds Boston to five hits over seven innings as the Angels sweep their season series with the Red Sox for the first time.

August 30, 2012|By Mike DiGiovanna

Leaving so soon?

For once, the Angels would love for their visitors from Boston to stick around for a while, even if that means a few more "Let's go, Red Sox!" chants in Angel Stadium.

Boston has tormented the Angels for most of the last decade, knocking them out of the playoffs in 2004, 2007 and 2008 and winning 15 of 18 games against them in 2010 and 2011, many of those victories coming in walk-off fashion while "Dirty Water" blared on the Fenway Park sound system.

Not this season. The Angels caught their nemesis at a wicked good time, last week while they were staggering on the field and embroiled in controversy off it and this week after they gutted their club by trading three key players, including cleanup hitter Adrian Gonzalez and pitcher Josh Beckett, to the Dodgers.

The result was a pair of three-game sweeps, in Fenway Park last week and Angel Stadium this week, the Angels completing their first-ever season series sweep of the Red Sox with a 5-2 victory Thursday night.

"They got rid of a lot of guys, and they're kind of in a rebuilding stage, but they still have some good pitching," right fielder Torii Hunter said after the Angels won for the seventh time in nine games. "Right now, we're playing like it's all or nothing. We're all in."

The Angels scored twice in the first inning on Mike Trout's walk, Hunter's single and Albert Pujols' two-run double and twice in the third on consecutive singles by Hunter, Pujols, Mark Trumbo and Alberto Callaspo. Trout's 103rd run in the first tied Devon White's franchise rookie record for runs, set in 1987.

That provided a nice cushion for Zack Greinke, who delivered his second straight superb start, mixing his 93-mph fastball and a variety of breaking balls and off-speed pitches to hold the Red Sox to two runs and five hits in seven innings, striking out seven and walking two.

Reliever Kevin Jepsen escaped a two-on, one-out jam in the eighth, getting Cody Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to fly out, and Ernesto Frieri struck out two in the ninth for his 16th save.

"That's how we need games to set up, on our terms," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We need to get some early runs, let our pitchers get into the feel of the game and get to the guys in the bullpen throwing the ball well."

The Angels, who trail Texas by 81/2 games in the American League West, didn't gain ground on wild-card leaders Oakland and Baltimore, who both won — the Angels remain 31/2 games behind the Orioles for the second wild-card spot.

But they picked up a game on Tampa Bay and Detroit, which both lost Thursday and remain ahead of the Angels in the wild-card race.

The only damper for the Angels was the loss of Howie Kendrick, who left in the third because of right knee soreness, an injury that helped stop his hitting streak at 15 games. Kendrick is listed as day to day and hopes to play this weekend in Seattle.

"I was running off the field and it kind of gave on me, and when I went to go on deck, I couldn't put any pressure on it," Kendrick said. "Something like this happened about a month ago during a game, and it went away pretty quick. But it wasn't as sharp a pain as this."

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

twitter.com/MikeDiGiovanna

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