Angels sweep Red Sox at Fenway
Anderson drives in four runs; Teixeira goes 0-for-4 in debut
BOSTON -- Two teams entered this week's series at Fenway Park well aware of each other's postseason potential. Both sought wins and an indication of what might lie ahead as the season approaches its final two months.
Three games later, the complexion looks a bit different. The Angels are soaring, acquiring Mark Teixeira from Atlanta and looking fearless on the field. The Red Sox are more along the lines of complete disarray.
"Against everybody, right now we're feeling good," Torii Hunter said. "Everything is just working out. Like I said earlier this year, when everything clicks, this team can be really special. And right now you see what's going on."
The Halos used brute power, took advantage of Red Sox blunders and relied on the left arm of Joe Saunders in a 9-2 victory over the defending World Series champions. The win marked the Angels' eighth in a row against the Sox, bringing Los Angeles' season record against Boston to 8-1.
The eight wins in a row marks the longest winning streak against Boston in team history, tying a streak compiled in the 1961 and '62 seasons.
For two teams in the thick of contention for the American League pennant, the Angels sure made the Red Sox look second-rate in this rare sweep at Fenway. In fact, this series made the defending World Series champions look nowhere near the caliber of this high-powered squad from Anaheim.
"They're a tough club, but we feel fortunate we played this well and got away with three wins," manager Mike Scioscia said, showing admiration to this Red Sox squad that is relatively similar, roster-wise, to the team that won it all a year ago. "You've got to play well to beat them, there's no doubting that."
The Angels did just that, and it all started with the production from veteran Garret Anderson. Despite batting just .188 in June, Anderson found his groove in July and is clearly making everyone remember he's just as viable a force as teammate sluggers Hunter, Teixeira and Vladimir Guerrero.
On a night where newcomer Teixeira went 0-for-4, the longtime Angel Anderson belted his 11th homer of the year in the sixth and went 4-for-5 with four RBIs in the contest. He was accountable for four of the Angels' first five runs, moving him into the team lead with 57 RBIs on the year.
"I've played quite a few years, and I know I can still hit," Anderson said. "So I wasn't panicking about what I was doing earlier in the year. I just figured I had enough time to turn it around and get it right."
Throughout L.A.'s eight wins against the Sox this season, the main component in the majority has been an outburst of runs in a particular inning. Anderson was the catalyst of two such frames on Wednesday.
Boston sent ace Josh Beckett to the hill to rectify the losing skid, but it didn't seem to matter. The Angels used a three-run fourth and a five-run sixth to separate themselves from the Red Sox.
The 2003 World Series MVP with a reputation for big-game pitching cruised through the early innings but couldn't overcome the Angels' constant threats at the plate -- even though he's not exactly a favorite to face in L.A.'s clubhouse.
"When you get him on the ropes, you've got to keep pounding him because the guy is impressive," Hunter said. "I don't like facing him, to be honest with you."
After Wednesday, Beckett might be feeling the same sentiments.
Maicer Izturis began that fourth inning with a double, then came home via Vladimir Guerrero's RBI single. Following a Hunter double, Anderson made the score 3-0 with a base knock of his own.
Boston responded in the fifth. After a leadoff walk to Jason Varitek, Saunders ran into his only hiccup of the contest. With a 1-0 count, Coco Crisp lofted his sixth homer of the year to left-center field, cutting the lead to one.
But later in the inning, with the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on first, Saunders forced a fly out that ended the threat. It was a turning point that Boston never recovered from.
"That was huge," Saunders said. "I struggled there. I thought I threw a good pitch to Crisp, and he just made a good swing on a good pitch. We battled out of a jam, got that third out and got us back into the dugout."
The Angels put it out of reach after that. Anderson's sixth-inning blast started the five-run landslide. In fact, that's about the time when the Red Sox began showing signs of a wearing club that was simply overmatched by L.A.
The Sox committed four errors in the game, three of which came in the sixth.
"They cracked the door open a little bit tonight, defensively," Scioscia said, "and we took advantage of it."
Even though the calendar has yet to flip to August, the way this three-game sweep took place shows there's little doubt this squad from Anaheim is more than a formidable threat in the AL pennant chase.
"We go out there against Tampa, Cleveland, whoever it may be -- we're worrying about the task at hand, the game at hand and nothing else," Hunter said. "We don't worry too much about teams that are .500 or Boston or New York, teams that have a name for themselves.
"We go out there and play. That's what we do."
Mark Remmer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.