It also helped former Angel John Lackey finally earn his 10th win of ’10. And yes, he was mightily booed by Angels fans when his name was announced, but it never affected his performance. In fact, nothing is slowing him down these days. Since the All-Star break, the Sox are 3-0 in his starts and he has put up a 1.61 ERA.
Yesterday, the Sox caught yet another break, as Angels right-hander Joel Pineiro was scratched just before the start of the game with a left oblique strain, and that forced Scot Shields, who hasn’t started a game since 2003, to get the emergency start. He only lasted 1.2 innings, giving up two runs, both solo shots to Adrian Beltre (17) and Bill Hall (11).
The highlight of the game was shortstop Marco Scutaro hitting the second grand slam of his career, just inside the left field line to break a 3-3 tie in the eighth with no outs. Josh Beckett, in his second start off the disabled list, gave up three runs in seven innings to earn his second win of ’10 and first since April. Final score: 7-3. The Sox swept the series and went 7-0 against the Angels in 2010.
Bill Hall is a versatile defensive player, but not great at any position – he made two big errors last Thursday in Seattle. At the plate, he brings nothing but power, and has he ever brought it lately. In his last four starts, he has hit three homers, scored four runs, and driven in four runs himself. Yesterday was one of his rare all-around days, as he homered and made a great, inning-ending catch to get inconsistent reliever Manny Delcarmen out of trouble in the eighth inning.
Off On The Wrong Foot In Oakland
The Sox posted an impressive 6-4 record on its daunting 10-game West Coast run, its first winning trip since 2004. But the road show didn’t go so well when it started early last week. The local nine ran into a red hot Oakland A’s squad, one that is reputable for playing its best baseball in the second half of a season, and lost two of the three games at Oakland Coliseum.
The series highlight was Daisuke Matsuzaka, who no one in Red Sox Nation seems to want to talk about unless he struggles, being very efficient in his 89 pitches in 6.2 innings. He threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of his 24 batters, struck out six A’s, and allowed just one earned run to earn his seventh win of the season as part of Boston’s only win in Oakland, a 2-1 nail biter. The lowlights included Tim Wakefield blowing a 4-0 Boston lead en route to its 5-4 loss in 10 innings on July 20, in what is likely his last start for a long time, and a rusty Buchholz going only four innings and surrendering five runs in his first start off the DL as part of Boston’s 6-4 loss to Oakland the next day.