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Ohtani carries Angels past Red Sox, ending LA’s 14-game sled

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani threw for seven excellent innings and hit a two-run homer, and the Los Angeles Angels ended their 14-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over the Boston Red Sox Thursday night.

Andrew Velazquez added a three-run homer in sixth place, but the Angels finished the longest slip in franchise history right on the shoulders of their incomparable AL MVP, both on the mound and on the plate.

Ohtani (4-4) delivered four hits and a run while hitting six in an ace-worthy performance. He also had two hits and put the Angels ahead for the first time by beating his 12th homer of the season in the fifth inning from Nick Pivetta (5-5).

Los Angeles won for the first time since May 24 and for the first time under interim manager Phil Nevin, who replaced the fired Joe Maddon after Monday’s opening defeat. The Halos won just their fourth win in 22 games since May 15 when they were 24-13 and first in the AL West.

Alex Verdugo had an RBI single in eighth place for the Red Sox, whose seven-game winning streak ended with their first loss in the first two stops of their 10-game West Coast road trip. Boston has still won 16 out of 22 overall.

Pivetta batted 11 to match the most by a Boston pitcher this season while notching six hits and two walks.

Ohtani was sharp on the mound after struggling on his two previous starts, and notably finished the third inning by defeating Rafael Devers with a 101-mph fastball — the third-fastest pitch of his career and his fastest strikeout pitch ever times. He made 18 swings and penalties after hitting just three in his previous start against the Yankees last week.

The Angels held an advantage after the sixth inning for the seventh time in their last 15 games, but their fickle bullpen held on to that advantage after Ohtani ended his start with two strikeouts in the seventh.

Ryan Tepera had two hits and a run in game eight, and Raisel Iglesias threw a perfect ninth for his 12th save.

The Angels had played 18 straight innings scoreless against Boston before Ohtani exploded in the fifth, and their lineup struggled again early without starters Mike Trout, Taylor Ward, Anthony Rendon, David Fletcher, Brandon Marsh and Luis Rengifo. Trout missed his second straight game with a groin strain.

The Angels got an unlikely contribution from Velazquez, who ended his 0-for-22 slump with a two-from shot from Hirokazu Sawamura to the elevated right field stand. Sawamura inherited a two-on, nobody-out jam and nearly escaped before Los Angeles’ light-hitting shortstop came through with his first June hit.

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Ohtani narrowly avoided being hit by Franchy Cordero’s broken bat in the second inning. Velazquez fielded the resulting grounder and made a poor throw home, but Max Stassi fielded the jump and tagged Verdugo to keep the game scoreless.

TRAINING ROOM

Red Sox: Helper Hansel Robles pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning on his return from the injured list after sitting for two weeks with back spasms. Robles recorded 26 saves in parts of three seasons with the Angels, including a stellar campaign in 2019 and a terrible one in 2020 that led to his departure. … Nathan Eovaldi had discomfort in his right hip during his five-inning start Wednesday, but manager Alex Cora expects him to make his next start on schedule.

Angels: Nevin said Trout’s injury is still not a long-term concern. … Noah Syndergaard will not face the Mets on Sunday night as originally planned because Nevin wants to give him an extra day between starts. Thor is not hurt, Nevin said.

NEXT

Red Sox: After a late-night soar up the coast, Rich Hill (2-3, 4.40 ERA) takes the hill on Friday to open a three-game series in Seattle.

Angels: Tylor Megill (4-2, 4.41 ERA) takes the mound for the Mets on Friday when New York opens a three-game weekend series in the Big A. Los Angeles hasn’t announced a starter but is expected to recall someone from the minors.

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