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Shohei Ohtani guides Angels past Red Sox to snap 14-game skid

Sportsnaut
Jun 9, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) hits a home run in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtani threw seven strong innings, hit a two-run homer and got a big boost from slumping teammate Andrew Velazquez as the Los Angeles Angels snapped a franchise-record, 14-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday in Anaheim, Calif.

The Red Sox had their seven-game winning streak end.

Ohtani (4-4) gave up just one run through the first five innings but came to the plate in the bottom of the fifth with the Angels trailing 1-0. He had already struck out twice against Red Sox pitcher Nick Pivetta, but this time he followed a single by Juan Lagares with a homer to left-center field to give the Angels a 2-1 lead.

The Angels’ one-run lead heading into the bottom of the sixth was tenuous at best, given the team’s bullpen struggles during the losing streak. Pivetta entered the inning having struck out a season-high 11, but he walked Jo Adell and Dillon Thomas to start the frame, then was lifted in favor of Hirokazu Sawamura.

Sawamura retired the first two batters he faced, bringing up Velazquez, who was hitless in his previous 22 at-bats. Sawamura got ahead in the count, getting Velazquez swinging and missing at two splitters. But on a 1-2 count, Sawamura tried to sneak a fastball past Velazquez, who instead jumped on it and hit a three-run homer for a 5-1 Angels lead.

Ohtani and Pivetta matched each other zero-for-zero through the first four innings before the Red Sox pushed across a run in the top of the fifth. Franchy Cordero led off with a walk, went to second on a single by Jackie Bradley Jr., took third on a passed ball by catcher Max Stassi and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bobby Dalbec.

It was the only run the Red Sox scored in seven innings against Ohtani, who gave up four hits, walked two, struck out six and made 100 pitches.

Pivetta (5-5) had won five consecutive starts, but he gave up four runs on six hits and two walks in five-plus innings and took his first loss since May 1.

Alex Verdugo’s RBI single in the eighth inning off Ryan Tepera cut the Angels’ lead to 5-2.

Raisel Iglesias pitched a perfect ninth for Los Angeles and earned his 12th save.

Ohtani and Adell each had two hits for the Angels. Verdugo led the Red Sox with two hits.

–Field Level Media