05/05/11 7:49 PM ET
Wells finding comfort level with Angels
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
"It's not something you think about," he said following his biggest game in an Angels uniform during a 5-3 victory over the Red Sox across 13 innings. "In baseball, everything is a routine and comfort zone. When it changes, it kind of throws things off.
"As a competitor, you think, `No, you're going to fit right in and continue doing what you're doing.' But the more you talk to guys who've gone through it, you realize that in a lot of cases, there's an adjustment period."
Wells spoke with Carl Crawford, who has been going through the same process in his early struggles with the Red Sox. Crawford has begun to emerge from his early struggles, and so has Wells. He homered in the first and third games of the series at Fenway Park, a yard he knows well from his Toronto days, and his mammoth shot on Wednesday night off the light support above the Green Monster was another indication that he was finding what has been missing.
"Any time you hit a ball like that," Wells said, "it gives you the feeling, `That's what I'm supposed to be doing -- what I'm capable of doing.'"
The seventh-inning two-run shot against Dan Wheeler broke a scoreless game in the seventh inning. His homer on Monday night against Jonathan Papelbon was a gauge of how his bat speed and timing are in place.
"Jonathan Papelbon was throwing hard," Wells said, "and being able to turn on it the way I did was a good sign."
The two critical throws he made from left field were matters of execution -- hitting relay man Erick Aybar for an out at home and making a strong, accurate throw with a wet ball.
All in all, Wells was starting to feel like himself, a three-time American League All-Star and AL Gold Glove Award winner, again.
"I'm not there yet," he said, grinning, when asked if the two homers in the series met his target. "I took about four weeks off, but it's getting better."
Abreu took different approach at plate in extras
BOSTON -- Bobby Abreu is known for taking first pitches and working counts and pitchers, but he admittedly altered his approach when he came to the plate on Thursday morning at about 2:30 a.m. ET to face Daisuke Matsuzaka with two outs and the bases loaded in the 13th inning at Fenway Park.
"I was hacking," Abreu said, grinning.
Matsuzaka threw a first-pitch curveball out of the strike zone. The count went to 2-1 and Dice-K came back with another curve. Abreu slammed it through the right side of the Boston infield for a two-run single, and after Trevor Bell took care of the Red Sox for his fourth zero of sterling relief, the Angels had a 5-3 victory and a seven-hour, 35-minute night, two-hour, 35-minute, rain delay included, was mercifully over.
"That was huge for us," said Abreu, who was 0-for-6 coming to the plate. "I hit the ball good four times for outs. I finally got one to go through. We needed that after spending all day here."
Among other things, it ended a Red Sox stranglehold on the Angels that was getting more than somewhat uncomfortable. Boston has taken six of seven this season and 15 of the past 17 from the team that swept it out of the 2009 American League Division Series. These guys obviously are serious about revenge.
"Bobby getting that hit," Vernon Wells said through a wide smile when asked about the game's best moment. "Him being 0-for-6, I couldn't see him going 0-for-7. I'm not sure he's ever done that."
Abreu searched his memory and said he figured it had happened somewhere along the line.
"I've played a lot of games," he said.
After day off, Trumbo back in lineup
BOSTON -- Mike Sciosica, who has been part chemist, part juggler in forming his lineups this season, had another new look for his former ace, John Lackey, in his role as a Red Sox starter on Thursday at Fenway Park against Joel Pineiro.
Mark Trumbo was back at first base after clubbing a homer in his first at-bat Tuesday at Fenway Park. Maicer Izturis got the day off and Torii Hunter assumed the designated hitter role, with Bobby Abreu in left field and Vernon Wells in right. Jeff Mathis was back behind the plate, with Erick Aybar leading off, Howard Kendrick batting second and Abreu in the No. 3 spot.
"Some guys are a little tired," Scioscia said. "With Vernon in right and Peter Bourjos in center, it'll give us more range in the bigger part of the park. Bobby in left just has to worry about the wall behind him. Torii can use a DH day."
Hunter had another long, busy night in right -- and he didn't get much shut eye.
"I drank so much coffee last night, I didn't get to sleep until 5 a.m.," Hunter said. "I got about three and a half hours of sleep, so I'll be drinking more coffee today."
Rain delay too long for Santana return
BOSTON -- Ervin Santana never has been better than in his four innings on Wednesday night, holding the Red Sox hitless while striking out seven and allowing two baserunners. But the elements eliminated any shot at a historic night.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he didn't consider bringing Santana back after the rain delay "got to the hour range," which meant it would have been about two hours, minimum, between pitches for the right-hander.
"It just didn't make any sense to get Ervin back out there," Scioscia said.
Closer Jordan Walden blew his first save after making good on five chances when the Red Sox scored twice in the ninth even though he was getting clocked in the 97-101 mph range with his fastball. The Sox were down to their last strike when Jacoby Ellsbury drove in the tying run.
"They had some good at-bats," Scioscia said. "He just missed on a 3-2 pitch to [Jed] Lowrie, and Ellsbury, that's a tough pitch he hit."
Scioscia was prepared to keep sending Trevor Bell out to the mound beyond his four scoreless innings, given that the young right-hander had gone deep in his final game for Triple-A Salt Lake before being recalled.
Hansen named Angels' honorary bat girl
BOSTON -- Along with Major League Baseball and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world's largest breast cancer organization, the Angels have named Melanie Hansen as their 2011 Honorary Bat Girl Contest winner as part of the campaign to recognize baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and shown a commitment to fighting the disease.
After a double mastectomy, Hansen participated in a focus group at the City of Hope to launch a support network. At St. Jude's Hospital, she taught Laughter Yoga as an alternative therapy to fellow survivors and health care professionals. She educated these professionals regarding the physical, emotional, and social benefits laughter provides.
During her reconstructive surgery, she completed course work for her master's degree with a desire to work with medically-challenged children, sharing her experience as a childhood survivor of leukemia. Hansen continues to receive chemotherapy at the City of Hope in order to combat the recent diagnosis of spots on her liver and a tumor on her back.
She will be honored prior to the Angels' game on Sunday at Angel Stadium and will throw out a ceremonial first pitch.
"We are honored to have Melanie as our Honorary Bat Girl this Mother's Day," said Angels chairman Dennis Kuhl. "Her passion for helping others and her selfless attitude are an inspiration to us all. Her positive spirit proves to us all that we can make a gift of ourselves no matter our circumstances."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.