By Sean McAdam
BOSTON -- Bobby Abreu's two-run single to right in the top of the 13th inning gave the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim a 5-3 victory over the Red Sox in one of the longest and strangest games in recent Fenway Park history.
The game took 7 hours and 35 minutes from start to finish to complete, ending at 2:45 a.m. Thursday. It included a rain delay of 2 hours and 35 minutes when play was halted with one out in the fifth inning.
Abreu's game-winner came off Daisuke Matsuzaka, who came into the game in the top of the 13th for his first major-league relief appearance.
It was the Angels' first win over the Sox in seven tries this season and only their second in 17 meetings between the two clubs since the start of the 2010 season.
The Sox appeared to have the game won in the bottom of the 12th when Kevin Youkilis doubled high off the left-field wall. But Marco Scutaro, running from first base, was thrown out at the plate on a perfect relay from left fielder Vernon Wells to shortstop Erick Aybar to catcher Jeff Mathis.
Trailing by two in the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox staged an improbable comeback and might have won the game then if not for an overly-aggressive baserunning move by Mike Cameron.
The Sox had Jed Lowrie at second and Cameron atfirst when Jordan Walden threw a wild pitch. As both runners advanced, catcher Hank Conger scrambled and threw the ball to third in an attempt to cut down Lowrie. The errant throw hit third-base umipre John Hirschbeck and rolled toward short, allowing Lowrie to score but Cameron was gunned down trying to advance from second to third.
Carl Crawford followed with a double and, after a strikeout by Jason Varitek, Jacoby Ellsbury singled home the tying run.
The Angels had grabbed the first lead of the game in the seventh when Vernon Wells launched a massive shot to left off Dan Wheeler, scoring Howie Kendrick ahead of him.
The Sox, held hitless until Lowrie singled with two out in the seventh, got on the scoreboard in the eighth on a dribbler by Adrian Gonzalez and a throwing error by reliever Fernando Rodney.
Neither starting pitcher -- Josh Beckett for the Sox, Ervin Santana for the Angels -- returned after the long rain delay.
Player of the Game: Bobby Abreu
Since coming over to the American League, Abreu has had a knack of doing damage to the Red Sox, so why should this game be any different?
With the bases loaded in the top of the 13th, Abreu slapped a two-run single to right off Daisuke Matsuzaka, snapping a 3-3 tie and giving the Angels a 5-3 victory.
Honorable Mention: Trevor Bell
Pitching was in short supply for both teams as the night wore on, but Bell gave manager Mike Scioscia four scoreless innings, buying his teammates time to regain the lead they lost in the bottom of the ninth.
Bell wiggled out of a second-and-third jam in the 10th and stranded the potential winning run on second in the bottom of the 12th before getting credit for the win.
The Goat: Diasuke Matsuzaka
Maybe it was unfair to expect much from Matsuzaka, who had never pitched in relief in the big leagues until Wednesday nightThursday morning.
But once in the game, the burden fell on him to keep the Angels from scoring. Instead, he yielded three hits and a walk, resulting in two runs for the Angels.
Turning Point: Youkilis nearly ends it
In the 12th inning with Marco Scutaro at first and one out, Kevin Youkilis banged a double high off The Wall. Scutaro, running all the way, was gunned down at the plate on a perfect relay by the Angels and you were left with the feeling that the Sox' last best chance had come and gone.
By the Numbers: 5
At exactly five hours of actual playing time, the game was the longest at Fenway Park since a 14-inning loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sept. 10, 2008, a game which took 5 hours and two minutes.
Quote of Note:
"When I showed up today, I didn't think I'd be talking to you guys at 3 a.m.'' -- Terry Francona in his post-game press conference with the media.