Regardless of where the Angels’ season ends, they’ll look to tonight’s game as the turning point.
With Red Sox on first and second in the second inning, Halo right-hander Garrett Richards forced Brock Holt to ground to Albert Pujols. Richards rushed to cover first base but caught his right cleat in the Fenway Park dirt. His knee buckled and he immediately collapsed in pain.
Richards remained on the ground for about ten minutes, unable to rise under his own power, until medics carted him off on a stretcher.
“It’s tough to have one of your best pitchers go down like that,” Howie Kendrick told Fox Sports West’s Jose Mota after the game. “Our hopes and prayers are with him. I don’t know the full extent of it yet but it’s tough to lose a guy like Garrett.”
Preliminary reports indicate a left patellar injury. Manager Mike Scioscia didn’t get into specifics following the team’s 8-3 victory other than to say Richards suffered a significant injury and will be evaluated in Los Angeles tomorrow morning.
Trailing 2-0 when Richards went down, David Ortiz padded Boston’s lead with his second home run in as many nights. The designated hitter’s solo shot off Cory Rasmus tied him with Ted Williams for most 30-homer seasons in Red Sox history.
At this point the Angels could have given up. Their ace was dealt a potential season-ending injury and momentum favored the defending champions.
Josh Hamilton’s fourth-inning, two-out double off the Green Monster set Kendrick up for an RBI single, the second baseman’s 53rd run batted in of the season. One inning later, five consecutive Angels reached base off Red Sox starter Clay Buchholtz.
Kole Calhoun waited out a bases-loaded walk and Mike Trout followed with a sac fly to score Chris Iannetta. Pujols’ brought Efren Navarro home with a single to left and sprinted to second on right fielder Daniel Nava’s feeble throw.
Kendrick’s second consecutive run-scoring single sealed a five-run inning where all but two batters reached base. By the time Hamilton notched his second and third RBIs, Buchholtz (5-8) was out of the game and the Angels held a commanding five-run lead.
Rasmus (3-1) didn’t allow a hit past Ortiz’s in 2 1/3 innings, and five additional relievers combined to shut out Boston through the final five frames. The bullpen holds an ERA just above 2.30 since the All-Star break.
The Angels extend their AL West lead to 1 ½ games and place themselves a season-best 25 games over .500.