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Scutaro's slam helps BoSox sweep Angels; Beckett earns elusive win

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- When Marco Scutaro saw a changeup coming from one of the hardest-throwing relievers in baseball, Boston's scrappy shortstop knew exactly what to do with that stroke of good luck.

His grand slam sent the Red Sox home from the West Coast with ample reason to believe they're still in the postseason chase.

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Scutaro hit his tiebreaking shot in the eighth inning off Fernando Rodney, and the Red Sox wrapped their 10-game trip with a 7-3 victory over the slumping Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, sweeping the three-game series.

Scutaro had three hits and drew two walks against the Angels' pen, capping his day with his second career grand slam. After Rodney issued two walks and gave up a bunt single to open the eighth, Scutaro drove a two-strike changeup into the left-field corner, where it stayed just fair.

"I was just trying to see the ball and hit a fly ball -- something," Scutaro said of the fastballs he had seen earlier in the at-bat. "It's tough when he's throwing 97, 98 [mph], and then he throws a change."

Although Josh Beckett (2-1) yielded five hits over seven innings in his first victory since April 10, his hitters didn't back him until late in a hot afternoon at Angel Stadium. That's no surprise, since Boston scored 13 of its 17 runs in the series after the sixth inning.

"The way we ended the road trip, we can take that back with us and get to where we're comfortable," Beckett said after his second start back from a two-month stint on the disabled list. "We've still got more guys to get healthy, but a lot of us are coming back now. I feel like I'm strong."

Kevin Youkilis tied it with a seventh-inning homer, while Adrian Beltre and Bill Hall hit early inning solo shots as the Red Sox improved to 7-0 this season against the club that sent them home from last season's playoffs. Even after a tough road trip with no days off, the Red Sox stayed within striking distance of New York and Tampa Bay atop the AL East.

The Angels don't resemble a playoff team now -- and not just because of another discouraging injury. Angels starter Joel Pineiro strained a muscle in his left side moments before the first pitch, sidelining him for six to eight weeks.

With their seventh loss in eight games, the Angels are plummeting out of the race for their sixth AL West title in seven seasons. Pineiro's long-term absence won't help.

"When I threw that curveball, I thought it was like a cramp or a muscle spasm," Pineiro said. "So I thought maybe I could stretch it out and see what happens. Then I tried to throw another one, and there was no chance, no way to throw it."

The Angels were swept at home for the first time in 80 series, ending the majors' longest streak since Atlanta went 84 home series without being swept from 2003-06. Los Angeles hadn't been swept in Angel Stadium since June 2007 against Kansas City.

"We'll start to patch some things together here," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after keeping his clubhouse closed for an abnormally long time. "Everything is a cause-and-effect, for sure, but we certainly don't feel that we're out of this right now. We've obviously been struggling the last couple of weeks. I think there's options we need to look at, and when there's something that's going to make us better, internally or externally, we'll act on it."

With a day off Thursday, Los Angeles used five relievers in Pineiro's place. Although Scot Shields struggled in his first start in nearly seven years, the Angels stayed in it until Rodney (4-1) collapsed.

Beckett was the latest Boston player to look good after getting healthy, yielding three runs and striking out five. Clay Buchholz pitched well in the series opener two days ago, and catcher Victor Martinez played in all three games after returning Monday.

"This is a good way to end a road trip, and now we love home cooking," said Hall, who made a leaping catch on Juan Rivera's eighth-inning line drive with two runners on base.

Shields made his first start since Sept. 28, 2003, but the longtime middle reliever wasn't sharp, giving up two home runs and throwing two wild pitches before leaving the second inning with the bases loaded.

Francisco Rodriguez escaped the jam and pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Rich Thompson then had five strikeouts in three strong innings, but yielded Youkilis' tying homer.

Los Angeles got back-to-back RBI singles from light-hitting Bobby Wilson and Reggie Willits in the second and took the lead in the fifth on Maicer Izturis' sacrifice fly after Willits got a leadoff double when Hall lost his popup in the sun.

Notes

  • David Ortiz struck out four times, matching his career high.
  • Angels CF Torii Hunter didn't play while mired in a 4-for-23 slump.
  • A swarm of bees emerged from a hive under the upper deck at Angel Stadium in the seventh inning, but disappeared a few minutes later.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Kevin Youkilis, who adds a homer, celebrates with Marco Scutaro following his grand slam.  (AP)
Kevin Youkilis, who adds a homer, celebrates with Marco Scutaro following his grand slam. (AP)

Players of the Game
Boston

M. Scutaro
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 4
Anaheim

R. Willits
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Boston Red Sox
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Marco Scutaro, SS4134212 .281
Darnell McDonald, RF5000125 .257
Kevin Youkilis, 1B4111105 .308
David Ortiz, DH5010042 .255
Victor Martinez, C5020000 .286
Adrian Beltre, 3B5111014 .332
Jeremy Hermida, LF3100222 .206
Bill Hall, 2B3211222 .230
Eric Patterson, CF4130000 .216
Totals387127812  
Batting
2B - Eric Patterson (8, Shields)
3B - Eric Patterson (5, Thompson)
HR - Marco Scutaro (6, Rodney), Kevin Youkilis (19, Thompson), Adrian Beltre (17, Shields), Bill Hall (11, Shields)
SH - Eric Patterson (2)
RBI - Marco Scutaro 4 (34), Kevin Youkilis (62), Adrian Beltre (65), Bill Hall (29)
2-OUT RBI - Bill Hall (13)
Team LOB - 13
Boston Red Sox
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Josh Beckett (W,2-1) 7533150 6.33
Manny Delcarmen 1100120 4.86
Ramon Ramirez 1000020 4.57
Pitches-Strikes - Josh Beckett 112-69, Manny Delcarmen 27-15, Ramon Ramirez 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Beckett 9-7
Batters Faced - Josh Beckett 27, Manny Delcarmen 5, Ramon Ramirez 3
Los Angeles Angels
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Erick Aybar, SS3000012 .279
Maicer Izturis, DH3001020 .237
Alberto Callaspo, 3B4010010 .274
Bobby Abreu, RF3000110 .253
Hideki Matsui, LF2100100 .251
    Juan Rivera, LF1000002 .258
Howard Kendrick, 2B4110000 .270
Mike Napoli, 1B4010022 .251
Bobby Wilson, C4011021 .222
Reggie Willits, CF3121000 .272
Totals3136329  
Batting
2B - Alberto Callaspo (20, Delcarmen), Mike Napoli (15, Beckett), Reggie Willits (3, Beckett)
SF - Maicer Izturis (2)
SH - Erick Aybar (8)
RBI - Maicer Izturis (21), Bobby Wilson (7), Reggie Willits (8)
2-OUT RBI - Bobby Wilson (2), Reggie Willits (1)
Team LOB - 5
Los Angeles Angels
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Scot Shields 1.2422222 5.86
Francisco Rodriguez 2.1300020 3.26
Rich Thompson 3211151 2.45
Fernando Rodney (L,4-1) 0.1244311 4.43
Michael Kohn 1.2100220 9.00
WP - Scot Shields 2 (5)
Pitches-Strikes - Scot Shields 52-30, Francisco Rodriguez 41-24, Rich Thompson 51-32, Fernando Rodney 31-16, Michael Kohn 37-20
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Francisco Rodriguez 2-3, Michael Kohn 1-2
Batters Faced - Scot Shields 11, Francisco Rodriguez 10, Rich Thompson 12, Fernando Rodney 6, Michael Kohn 8
Game Information
Attendance - 44052
Game Time - 3:36
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Todd Tichenor, First Base - Laz Diaz, Second Base - Wally Bell, Third Base - James Hoye