April 21, 2011: Red Sox 4, Angels 2


April 21, 2011: Red Sox 4, Angels 2

By Sean McAdam

ANAHEIM, Calif -- For much of the night on Thursday, the Red Sox couldn't buy a hit with runners in scoring position. Then, up came Adrian Gonzalez with runners on the corners and no out in the top of the 11th inning.

Gonzalez turned on a pitch and drove it into right field for a run-scoring double and Jed Lowrie later added a sacrifice fly, sending the Red Sox to a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels in Boston's first extra-inning contest this season.

The Sox had had numerous chances earlier, including two on and no out in the seventh, then loading the bases with one out in the eighth, but couldn't cash in. Until Gonzalez's at-bat, the Sox had been 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Bobby Jenks got the win with the save going to Jonthan Papelbon. Josh Beckett pitched a gem, allowing two runs on three hits over eight innings, but got a no-decision for his effort.

The Angels had pulled even in the seventh when Beckett made one of his few mistakes all night, leaving a 3-and-2 fastball over the middle of the plate to Torii Hunter, who drove a pitch out to straightaway center for a two-run homer.

The Sox had snapped a scoreless tie in the sixth when, after walks to Carl Crawford and Jason Varitek, Jacoby Ellsbury dropped a broken-bat bloop single into right field, scoring both baserunners.

Beckett didn't allow a hit until the sixth and threw 125 pitches, the second-highest total of his career.

Player of the Game: Adrian Gonzalez

Though he hasn't struggled nearly to the degree that fellow newcomer Carl Crawford has, Gonzalez hasn't had much of an early-season impact on the offense. Before Thursday night, he was tied for fourth in RBI. But he delivered the big hit that had eluded the Red Sox all night when he doubled home J.D. Drew in the top of the 11th inning.

The Angels had Gonzalez shaded to left, but the first baseman nicely turned on a pitch and pulled it into a gaping space in right.

Honorable Mention: Josh Beckett

Beckett turned in his third straight outstanding start, limiting the Angels to just two runs on three hits over eight innings. He deserved the win, but the Sox stranded baserunners left and right and couldn't get the go-ahead run while Beckett was the pitcher of record.

The Goat: Eric Aybar

Aybar laced a ball into the right-field corner leading off the eighth, but foolishly
attempted to go for a triple. A terrific relay by Dustin Pedroia cut down Aybar at third.

The Angels are an aggressive club by nature, but Aybar would have done well to put himself into scoring position with no out. Instead, he ran the Angels out of the potential go-ahead run late in the game.

Turning Point: Gonzalez comes through

Inning after inning, the Red Sox failed to come up with a big hit when they needed it most. Then came Gonzalez in the top of the 11th, producing the go-ahead run with a double pulled into the right field corner.

Until then, the Sox had been a putrid 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

By the Numbers: 15

The Red Sox left 15 runners stranded, compared to the three for the Angels.

Quote of Note:

"I'll take 15 runners stranded with a win. Doesn't matter how many hits you get or

how many you strand as long as you get the win." -- Adrian Gonzalez

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Pomeranz gives up three runs in Red Sox loss to Blue Jays

Pomeranz gives up three runs in Red Sox loss to Blue Jays

Starter Drew Pomeranz gives up three runs on five hits in four innings of work in the Red Sox' 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays on Friday.

Lou Merloni breaks down Pomeranz's start and explains why he should be in the starting rotation to begin the season.

Sox' lack of homegrown starters an understandable problem to Yanks' Cashman

Sox' lack of homegrown starters an understandable problem to Yanks' Cashman

The dearth of homegrown starting pitching for the Red Sox is talked about almost as much as every Tom Brady post on Instagram.

Red Sox fans may take some solace in knowing their team isn’t the only one dealing with this problem.

In an interview with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman didn’t talk about his team’s pitching problems in context of the Red Sox. But the explanation the longtime Yanks boss offered should sound familiar. 

In the biggest of markets, time to develop properly is scarce.

“Yeah. It's a fact,” Cashman said when asked if criticism of their pitching development was fair. “I think part of the process has been certainly where we draft. Because we've had a lot of success, we've not been allowed to tank and go off the board and therefore get access to some of the high-end stuff that plays out to be impactful. Part of it is we can't get out of our own way because we don't have the patience to let guys finish off their development, because if you possess some unique ability that stands out above everybody else -- whether it was Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, now [Luis] Severino and before that [Bryan] Mitchell and Shane Greene -- we're pulling them up before their development is finished.

“Teams like Tampa Bay, for instance, they're going to wait until they have their four pitches down and their innings limits are all exceeded at the minor-league level; they're very disciplined in that approach as they finish off their starters. For us, if I'm looking at my owner and he says, ‘What's our best team we can take north?’ 

“Well, ‘We could take this guy; he's not necessarily 100 percent finished off, but we can stick him in our 'pen. He can be in the back end of our rotation, because he's better than some of the guys we already have,’ and then you cut corners, so I think that probably plays a role in it.”

Not everything is circumstantial, though -- or a deflection. 

“And sometimes we don't make the right decisions, either, when we're making draft selections and signings and stuff like that,” Cashman continued. “On top of it all, playing in New York is a lot different than playing anywhere else.”

We’ve heard that last part about Boston too, here and there.

Cashman was complimentary of his current Sox counterpart, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, whose team Cashman has compared to the Golden State Warriors.

On his feelings when he first heard the Sox were getting Chris Sale:

“When that trade was consummated, that was the first thing I thought about, which was, 'Wow, look at what they've done,' ” Cashman said. “I know how it's going to play out for them. Listen, Steve Kerr does a great job managing that team -- oh, I mean John Farrell. It's a lot of talent and with talent comes pressure to perform. I think Dave Dombrowski has done everything he possibly can to provide that city with a world championship team. They've got 162 games to show it.”