First Pitch: Tuesday, September 13

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First Pitch: Tuesday, September 13

By ArtMartone
CSNNE.com

Welcome to First Pitch, aquick spin around the world of Major League Baseball . . . or at leastthe corner of it that most concerns the Red Sox. For a complete wrapupof Monday's action, check out Craig Calcaterra's AndThatHappened(hardballtalk.nbcsports.com).

STORM BEFORE THE CALM? Theo Epstein, for one, believes the Red Sox will pull out of this. (csnne.com) As does Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. As for me, I think the Sox are scheduled to get back on track. (csnne.com)

And now, after a night in which Red Sox Nation got a chance to catch its breath -- and turn its grateful eyes to a team that's not in freefall (csnne.com) -- we'll see if Theo, Michael and I are right.

Not everybody thinks so. Both our own Sean McAdam and the Boston Herald's John Tomase point out that virtually all areas of the team have collapsed recently. In his Nation STATion column, Bill Chuck tells us why the Sox have been a .500 team over the last six weeks (and doesn't give much hope that things are going to turn around). The main reason? Pitching. Tim Britton of the Providence Journal agrees, at least with the notion that that's where a good chunk of the blame belongs.

If that's the case, there is some good news. Josh Beckett threw off a mound Monday (csnne.com) and may soon be ready to return. And weei.com reports a reinforcement -- in the form of promising right-hander Junichi Tazawa -- is on the way.

In any case, the Blue Jays are in town. We'll find out soon enough.

TAZAWA'S NOT ALL . . . WE THINK: Many people assume that this . . .

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means Joey Gathright will be in a Red Sox uniform tonight. We shall see.

BAD MOON RISING: No good news last night, as the Yankees increased their A.L. East lead to four games by beating Felix Hernandez and the Mariners (New York Post) and the Rays pulled to within three games of the Sox in the wild-card race by beating the Orioles. (St. Petersburg Times)

MAGIC MAN: "How in the name of Kelly Shoppach are the Rays in this playoff race?" asks the Tampa Tribune's Martin Fennelly. Two words: Joe Maddon.

THAT'S CERVELLI: Another concussion has sidelined Francisco Cervelli indefinitely. (ESPN New York)

POLICE LOG: Manny Ramirez was arrested after a domestic dispute with his wife. (csnne.com)

OLD FRIENDS: Looks like the end of the line for Mike Cameron, who was released by the Marlins last night. (mlb.com)

AND FINALLY . . . When there's money involved, there's usually a solution to everything. (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)

Andrelton Simmons slugs Angels to 7-3 win over Red Sox

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Andrelton Simmons slugs Angels to 7-3 win over Red Sox

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- When runs come in bunches, so do the wins for the Los Angeles Angels.

Andrelton Simmons drove in three runs, including a go-ahead two-run homer, Albert Pujols went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and the Angels rallied for a 7-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night.

Simmons hit his 10th homer of the season to left and put the Angels ahead 4-3 in the third inning after falling behind early. Pujols doubled to score Yunel Escobar and Mike Trout to start the four-run outburst.

"When we got a pitch to hit we hit it hard," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Albert got us going, that's a big double. One thing that can get you back into the game, extra-base hits tonight showed up."

The Angels improved to 38-10 when scoring four or more runs, compared to a 10-41 mark when held to three or fewer.

Battering Red Sox ace David Price even after facing a 3-0 deficit after two innings made this particular offensive eruption all the more impressive.

"We started chipping away," said Simmons, who went 2 for 4. "Guys just kept putting up good at-bats. We just didn't make it easy for them."

JC Ramirez (9-8) recorded his second win at home in 11 starts, striking out six while allowing one earned run and five hits in six innings despite struggling early.

The Red Sox got off to another fast start after scoring five runs in the first inning on Friday. Hanley Ramirez had an RBI single to start the scoring, and the Red Sox got two runs in the second after the Angels' franchise-record streak of 14 games without an error ended when Ramirez couldn't make the catch to complete a double play while covering first. Mookie Betts hit his 31st double to knock in a run and then was driven in by Andrew Benintendi for a 3-0 lead.

However, the Angels were able to respond after dropping the series opener. They added two runs in the fifth when Simmons singled, again bringing home Pujols, and he scored on a throwing error by shortstop Xander Bogaerts.

Trout picked up an RBI in the sixth, giving him five in seven games this home stand.

Price (5-3) gave up five earned runs and seven hits in five innings, allowing more than three earned runs for only the second time this year.

"The one thing that they did do well was they forced him to throw a lot of pitches," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Obviously, the third inning, two big swings were the difference."

ANOTHER PUJOLS MILESTONE

Pujols became the 26th player to score 1,700 runs when he touched home plate after Simmons went deep. Pujols joins Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Alex Rodriguez and Willie Mays in amassing at least 600 home runs and 1,700 runs.

Scioscia called Pujols' continued climb into the history books a moment of "living history."

"He's had an incredible career and he's got more in his tank," Scioscia said. "It's fun to see the guys he is connected with."

FARRELL TOSSED

Farrell got the boot for arguing with umpire Phil Cuzzi in the middle of the fifth, though his original intent was to keep Dustin Pedroia from the same outcome. But by the time Farrell got to home plate, Pedroia had ended his conversation with Cuzzi and Farrell picked up where it left off.

"Anytime you make a comment about balls and strikes, that's probably what it's going to get you," Farrell said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: INF Josh Rutledge (concussion) is likely to come off the disabled list on Monday. ... Mitch Moreland was in the starting lineup at DH for the first time this season.

Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs (strained oblique) pitched four innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Salt Lake, giving up three earned runs and six hits.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (4-12, 4.60 ERA) has just one win in his last 10 starts, but it came against the Angels last month. Porcello has allowed two earned runs in 14 innings over his last two starts, striking out 13 without allowing a walk in that span, and still took the loss in both outings.

Angels: RHP Parker Bridwell (3-1, 3.18 ERA) went a career-high 6 2/3 innings to pick up the win against the Red Sox last month. Bridwell has held opponents to two earned runs or fewer in five of his last six starts.