As the Los Angeles Angels rolled into town on July 1, Red Sox fans were uneasy. High hopes for the Red Sox were being dashed. They had lost 17 of their last 29 games and trailed the Baltimore Orioles by four games for the AL East lead.
Many of the Red Sox faithful were looking forward to seeing the phenomenal Mike Trout play. He would get the American League Most Valuable Player Award for 2016, his second MVP, with a slash line of .315/.441/.530. (Hometown favorite Mookie Betts finished second.)
The drubbing the Red Sox endured was their worst loss in 16 years.1 However, they shrugged off the debacle and won the next day by a score of 10-5 with Sean O’Sullivan, a call-up from the Triple-A team in Pawtucket, pitching five scoreless innings before being pulled in the sixth after two batters reached base.
The Red Sox eventually caught the Orioles, taking the AL East lead for good on September 7. It was a long haul after the July blowout. In that game, the Angels struck in the top of the first. With two outs, Mike Trout hit a ground-rule double to right field and Albert Pujols clubbed a homer to left-center. Former Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava flied out to end the inning.
The Red Sox threatened in the bottom of the inning. Mookie Betts was awarded a double because of fan interference on a blast hit to center field. Dustin Pedroia flied out and Xander Bogaerts drew a walk, but the rally was snuffed out when David Ortiz hit into a double play.
After a scoreless third, the Angels struck for one run in the top of the fourth. Cron deposited a pitch from Clay Buchholz over the left-center-field wall.
Buchholz was chased in the of the fifth after walking Kole Calhoun and yielding a single to Mike Trout. Heath Hembree came in to relieve. Pujols hit a grounder to third base; Travis Shaw tried to get a force out on Calhoun but Calhoun beat Shaw to the bag. A videotape review confirmed the call on the field.
With the bases loaded, Cron singled to center field, plating Calhoun and Trout. Carlos Perez doubled to center field with Pujols and Cole scoring.
Down 9-0, the Red Sox scored a run in the bottom of the fifth. Betts led off the inning with another ground-rule double and scored when Pedroia hit a grounder into the hole on the left side of the diamond. Third baseman Yunel Escobar fielded the ball but his throw to first was wild.
After a scoreless sixth, the Angels seemed to have the game well in hand with a 9-1 lead. They were just getting started. Robbie Ross, relieving Hembree, walked Shane Robinson, gave up a single to Cron, and moved the runners up a base on a wild pitch. Perez singled to score Robinson. A single by Simmons drove in Cole. Escobar singled to load the bases
Calhoun’s single drove in Perez and Simmons. Pat Light replaced Ross and hit Trout to load the bases. A double by Pujols cleared them.
Robinson struck out his second time up in the inning for the second out. But the Angels were hardly done. Cron homered for two more runs, Johnny Giavotella doubled and Carlos Perez went deep. Simmons grounded out to end the 11-run inning; the score was Angels 20, Boston 1.
A home run by Betts in the bottom of the seventh provided the only earned run the Red Sox scored and the final run of the day for the Boston nine.
The Angels scored one more in the top of the ninth. A leadoff triple by Gregorio Petit resulted in a run when shortstop Bogaerts could not handle a grounder into the hole.
That was the last run of the game. The Angels threatened in the top of the ninth but Boston pitcher Ryan LaMarre stranded two runners. The Red Sox left the bases loaded in the ninth, three of a total of 10 runners stranded in the game. The Red Sox did poorly in the field as well, committing four errors, including two by Travis Shaw.
Of the Angels’ 21 runs, 16 runs were driven in by three players. The magnitude of the defeat somewhat overshadowed the achievements of C.J. Cron, who went 6-for-6 with two homers, a double, and five RBIs. Catcher Carlos Perez was 5-for-6 (home run, 2 doubles) with six RBIs, and Albert Pujols was 2-for-5 (homer, double) with five RBIs.
In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author also relied on both Retrosheet.org and Baseball-Reference.com.
1 Julian Benbow, “Sox Respond in Positive Way,” Boston Globe, July 4, 2016: C3.