Sports Sportsin partnership with NESN your connection to The Boston Globe

Hard knocks hit Sox

Angels blow it open with six-run fifth

ANAHEIM, Calif. — For the Red Sox, good vibrations have never been hard to find when they come to Southern California for a visit. This is where Hendu hit his home run, where RemDawg made it to the big leagues, where Nomar Garciaparra’s old neighborhood turned out en masse, where Kevin Millar’s mom threw an open house for her son and his pals, where Bronson Arroyo recorded his CD, where Jennifer Lopez sat through extra innings with Ben Affleck, where Tom Werner cruised down from Malibu, where the Sox began their run to a World Series title by smoking the Angels two straight last fall.

Not to mention the sun, the surf, and other eye-catching attractions that are in less abundance than say, Detroit.

But Boston’s first trip back here since last October didn’t take long to turn disastrous, a 13-4 loss to the Angels only the last bit of bad news on a night that Tim Wakefield, the team’s winningest pitcher, became the second Sox pitcher this season to be knocked out of a game by a line drive off the bat of an opposing hitter.

Wakefield, fortunately, fared better than Matt Clement. Unlike Clement, who took a line drive off the head against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Wakefield was struck just above the right ankle by a line drive hit by Angels rookie Casey Kotchman in the fifth inning of a game already well on its way to being lost. The knuckleballer was taken to Anaheim Memorial Hospital, where X-rays were negative. The injury was described by manager Terry Francona as a ‘‘deep contusion on his lower shin.’’

The Angels, leaders of the American League West, routed the Sox leaders of the East, 13-4, before a sellout crowd of 44,050 in Angels Stadium. The Sox have lost three of the first four games on their longest trip of the season, a 10-game trek that ends in Kansas City.

‘‘There was no break or anything,’’ said a somber Francona, who earlier had watched outfielder Manny Ramírez make his fourth error in five games and lefthander Mike Remlinger demonstrate again that he is a ghost of the pitcher who was once one of the game’s more dominant setup men, giving up six runs in two innings of eye-averting mopup.

Remlinger, a Massachusetts native (Plymouth), has appeared in five games for the Sox since being cut loose by the Cubs. He has recorded 14 outs while allowing 12 hits, 6 walks, and 12 earned runs, a performance that could shortly put him back on the unemployment line.

Remlinger gave up the second of two three-run home runs struck by Angels outfielder Juan Rivera, whose first three-run home run came as the first batter to face Mike Myers, who replaced Wakefield in the fifth.

Wakefield was back in the clubhouse after the game, walking without assistance, but was receiving treatment in the training room and was unavailable for comment. Francona would not speculate on whether Wakefield would make his next start, but with an offday next Monday, Wakefield would get an extra day between starts.

‘‘We’re not panicking,’’ general manager Theo Epstein said.

Johnny Damon, who chided himself for flying out with the bases loaded to end the seventh, when the Sox broke through for three runs after being held scoreless through six by Bartolo Colón, said the team was relieved that Wakefield had been spared worse injury.

‘‘The good thing is there’s nothing wrong with Wake,’’ Damon said. ‘‘If we had lost him, it would have been a lot worse situation than it was. It’s a good thing nothing’s broken, but he’s going to be very sore.’’

Wakefield (12-10), who had won his last four decisions, had pitched at least seven innings in 10 of his last 12 starts. With Wade Miller already on the disabled list, and not close to a return, which prompted the call-up of rookie Jonathan Papelbon, an injured Wakefield could potentially accelerate Curt Schilling’s return to the rotation.

Epstein, addressing Schilling’s status before the game, said Schilling could probably throw 75 pitches in a start, but said his return to the rotation was predicated on when closer Keith Foulke would be back, Foulke’s effectiveness when he does return, and the conviction that Schilling could succeed as a starter.

‘‘This has just been an unusual year for him, that’s what you have to chalk it up to,’’ Epstein said of Schilling. ‘‘He wasn’t able to work out in the offseason, he hasn’t quite been himself. He’s getting back there slowly. Maybe he won’t be himself until spring training next year. We’ve seen flashes of it, but we haven’t been able to see it consistently.’’

Kotchman had given the Angels a 1-0 lead in the second when he homered off Wakefield. , who threw the rookie a fastball on a 3-and-1 count, instead of his customary knuckleball, and watched as Kotchman planted it into the right-field bleachers.

Wakefield, who had issued the first of two intentional walks to Angels slugger Vladi Guerrero in the first, escaped a first-and-third, two-out predicament in the first and a first-and-third, one-out jam in the fourth.

His luck ran out in the fifth, which began with a one-out walk to Orlando Cabrera, the exiled darling of the 2004 Sox. Cabrera stole second and continued to third when Doug Mirabelli’s throw bounced into center field, shortstop Edgar Renteria doing little to keep the ball from skipping past. Erstad followed with a liner that dropped in front of Ramírez, eluded his glove and rolled to the wall, Cabrera scoring and Erstad going to third.

Wakefield gave Guerrero another free pass, but Bengie Molina spoiled that strategy by sticking out his bat and skidding a hit-and-run grounder through the hole created on the right side when Guerrero took off for second. Kotchman then KO’d Wakefield with his liner, and when Juan Rivera homered, it was 7-0, a six-run inning for the Angels.

Colón, meanwhile, was blowing the Sox away with fastballs that were clocked consistently at 96 and 97 miles per hour. Ramírez, who struck out in his first two at-bats, came up in the seventh after David Ortiz had whiffed a second time and hit a ground-rule double to right. Millar singled him home for the Sox first run, and Bill Mueller, Mirabelli and Gabe Kapler all followed with hits, Kapler’s hit scoring two runs. But Johnny Damon flied to left to end the inning.

Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives