x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Angels' pitching puts Sox on brink

Another dominant Los Angeles pitching display gave the Angels a 4-1 win over Boston on Friday, pushing the Red Sox to the brink of elimination from the American League play-offs.

ANAHEIM // Another dominant Los Angeles pitching display gave the Angels a 4-1 win over Boston on Friday, pushing the Red Sox to the brink of elimination from the American League play-offs. A day after John Lackey shut down Boston, the LA pitcher Jered Weaver yielded only two hits while dominating the Red Sox into the eighth inning and giving the Angels a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. Game 3 is today at Boston's Fenway Park, with their pitcher Clay Buchholz facing the Angels newcomer Scott Kazmir.

The Angels went ahead on Friday when Maicer Izturis got an RBI single, followed by Erick Aybar's two-run triple during the Angels' two-out rally in the seventh. That broke up a stellar pitching duel between Weaver and Josh Beckett, Boston's ace and most reliable play-off performer. "These two guys were matching each other pitch for pitch," said Mike Scioscia, the Angels manager. "We did a really good job of staying focused, settling down. The only way we're going to beat good pitching is to pitch with them, and we were able to do that."

Beckett yielded four runs in six and two third innings during his first play-off loss in a Red Sox uniform. It was his first defeat in nine post-season starts since the 2003 World Series. The Red Sox eliminated the Angels in three of the past five post-seasons, but they have managed just one run and eight hits in the series' first two games. "We've had a tough time these last two games swinging the bat, that's an understatement," said the Boston manager, Terry Francona. The Red Sox scored their only run of the series in the fourth on Friday on Victor Martinez's RBI single. Boston got the tying run to the plate in the ninth before the Angels closer Brian Fuentes retired Mike Lowell on a flyball to centre field.

* AP