Red Sox win series opener against Angels on Friday night
Boston Red Sox's Jacoby Ellsbury and Brandon Snyder, rear left, take off their helmets as they walk toward the dugout after the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, July 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Los Angeles Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton misses a ball hit by Boston Red Sox's Jonny Gomes during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, July 5, 2013. Boston Red Sox's Shane Victorino scored on the fielding error by Hamilton. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Boston Red Sox's Dustin Pedroia, top, throws to first base to complete a double play after forcing out Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout, bottom, during the third inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, July 5, 2013. Angels' Albert Pujols was out at first. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Felix Doubront throws against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, July 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher C.J. Wilson throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, July 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
ANAHEIM, Calif. – David Ortiz was scheduled to get the night off, although he told Boston Manager John Farrell that he was available.
“We’d be crazy not to use David, given his production and capability,” Farrell said.
So Ortiz came in to pinch-hit for Brandon Snyder with the Red Sox clinging to a one-run lead in the eighth inning. Big Papi responded with a two-run homer to help Boston beat the Los Angeles Angels, 6-2, in the series opener on Friday night.
“I don’t like pinch-hitting,” he said. “I don’t think I’m that good.”
Ortiz visited the batting cage between innings to keep himself loose.
“Stop being surprised when this guy hits home runs,” teammate Jonny Gomes said. “It’s hard to pinch-hit, but it’s hard to DH, too. He’s got that mindset.”
Shane Victorino scored the go-ahead run in the seventh on a dropped fly ball by Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton, giving the AL East-leading Red Sox their fifth straight victory and ninth in 10 games after losing all three games at Angel Stadium last season.
They improved to a season-high 20 games over .500, the first time they’ve been that many games over .500 since Sept. 23, 2011.
“In the dugout there’s a lot of positive energy,” Farrell said. “Somewhere we’ll find a way to put something together. It seems like every night there’s someone different.”
Victorino singled leading off the seventh against C.J. Wilson (8-6). Wilson retired the next two batters before Gomes hit a towering fly toward the right-field line that should have ended the inning.
Hamilton ran a long way and stuck out his glove, but the ball bounced off it, allowing Victorino to score from first base.
“It’s just unfortunate that the ball unraveled on that one,” Wilson said about Hamilton’s error. “But it’s a big adjustment to move from center to right on a permanent basis, and I think he’s still in the adjustment phase with that. But he’s doing the best he can.
“Sometimes he’s made plays where he’s a little bit hesitant, just because the lights are in a different place and all that stuff.”
Wilson was replaced by Dane De La Rosa, who ended the inning by picking off Gomes.
Felix Doubront (5-3) allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2∕ 3 innings, struck out five and walked two. The left-hander retired 10 in a row after giving up a game-tying homer to Howie Kendrick leading off the fourth.
“He had good stuff and was on the plate with his fastball and a very good changeup,” Farrell said. “He has weapons to keep guys off-stride.”
Doubront has been on a roll in his 10 starts since May 16, giving up three earned runs or fewer in each outing for a 2.87 ERA.
Ortiz slugged his 17th homer of the season to right field on an 0-1 pitch from De La Rosa, scoring Daniel Nava, who led off with a double.
“I’m sure after De La Rosa got ahead with a changeup he was probably looking to tease him,” Farrell said. “It’s a luxury having that guy available.”
Former Angel Mike Napoli homered with two outs in the ninth inning, making it 6-2.
Wilson allowed three runs – one earned – and 10 hits in 6 2∕ 3 innings, struck out five and walked two, but was let down by the Angels’ defensive miscues.
Wilson gave up three consecutive two-out singles to load the bases in the sixth before fielding a soft broken-bat liner from Jacoby Ellsbury to end the inning. Wilson flipped the ball into the stands as he jogged back to the dugout.
The Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the second on Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s RBI single and a fielding error by left fielder J.B. Shuck.
∎ The Red Sox placed SS Stephen Drew on the DL, retroactive to June 29, and recalled RHP Jose De La Torre from Triple-A Pawtucket. Drew said his right hamstring continues to improve, but that it made sense for him to let it heal before returning.
∎ It was Ortiz’s fifth career pinch-hit homer, and his first since May 29, 2011, at Detroit.