By DOUG ALDEN Associated Press
BOSTON (AP) — Rafael Devers homered, Michael Wacha pitched into the sixth inning and the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-0 on Tuesday night.
J.D. Martinez added a solo homer in the eighth to help seal it for Boston, which held the slumping Angels to three hits in its second shutout of the season.
The Red Sox got nine hits and ended a two-game skid in their first game at home since struggling through a 3-7 road trip.
“We hit the ball hard again. We were hunting pitches in the zone,” manager Alex Cora said. “We got pitches. We put good swings on them. It was a good beginning. We played good defense and it’s good to win the first one of the series.”
Noah Syndergaard (2-1) had a solid start for Los Angeles, throwing 100 pitches on a chilly night and holding the Red Sox to three runs and eight hits over seven innings. But the Angels didn’t give him any run support, squandering the few chances they had by grounding into three double plays.
Los Angeles was shut out for the second straight day and third time in four games, getting blanked twice in a weekend series against the White Sox.
Wacha (3-0) allowed only singles by Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout and Max Stassi. Jake Diekman and Ryan Brasier preserved the shutout until Hirokazu Sawamura took over in the ninth, striking out Ohtani to end it.
“I was able to make quality pitches early on and early in the count,” Wacha said. “I was able to get some weak contact and let the defense play behind me. I mean, they were playing great. … It was fun to watch them work.”
Devers broke the scoreless tie with a leadoff homer in the fourth, driving the first pitch from Syndergaard deep into the seats in center field. It was the fourth of the season for Devers, who has at least one hit in 21 of Boston’s 24 games.
“If I could have that one back, I probably wouldn’t have thrown that pitch,” Syndergaard said.
Syndergaard walked Xander Bogaerts after Devers’ homer, and a single by Martinez helped set up another run on a soft grounder by Kiké Hernández that scored Bogaerts.
Syndergaard didn’t allow another run until the seventh, when Franchy Cordero and Kevin Plawecki opened with back-to-back singles and Trevor Story delivered a sacrifice fly.
Wacha got a warm ovation when he was pulled with a runner on second and two outs in the sixth. He walked two and struck out two.
Devers’ homer extended his hitting streak to nine games.
Tuesday was a benchmark for Syndergaard, who missed the pandemic-shortened 2020 season after an injury in spring training led to Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for nearly all of 2021, too.
Syndergaard pitched seven innings for the first time since Aug. 10, 2019, with the New York Mets. He hadn’t thrown 100 pitches since September 2019.
“It’s super encouraging,” Syndergaard said. “I’m probably not quite where I want to be yet, but I think that’s just the name of the game when it comes to recovering from Tommy John surgery and not pitching for two years.”
Jackie Bradley Jr., back with the Red Sox after a forgettable season in Milwaukee last year, snapped an 0-for-11 skid when he doubled off the Green Monster in the third. He also led off the fifth with another double. Bradley entered the game batting .147 and was up to .169 after going 2 for 3.
“Whatever he can bring offensively will be great. We know he can do that,” Cora said. “If the bottom part of the lineup can do their part and get on base like they did today … it’s a different lineup.”
Angels: RHP Austin Warren broke his nose before the game even started. The reliever was hit in the face by a ball during batting practice and placed on the 15-day injured list. … The Angels optioned OF Jo Adell to Triple-A Salt Lake and recalled INF Jose Rojas. Adell, the 10th overall pick in the 2017 draft, was batting .231 with three homers and nine RBIs in 19 games. Manager Joe Maddon said he wanted to get Adell more consistent playing time rather than having him share time in the Angels’ crowded outfield. … RHP Elvis Peguero, recalled from Salt Lake to fill Warren’s spot after being sent down the day before, took over for Syndergaard in the eighth.
Red Sox: Recalled LHP Josh Taylor (lower back strain) from a rehab assignment in the minors, although Cora said it’s still unclear when Taylor could be coming out of the bullpen again because of a “setback” during his rehab. “We’re going through testing and all that stuff,” Cora said. “We’ll know more later in the week.”
Angels: LHP Reid Detmers (1-1, 5.19 ERA) is coming off his first win of the season, allowing just one run and two hits over five innings Thursday in a 4-1 victory against Cleveland.
Red Sox: RHP Garrett Whitlock (1-1, 0.54 ERA) gets his third career start. Whitlock pitched three innings Thursday at Toronto, allowing one run on four hits and two walks over three innings.
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