BOSTON -- Presented with a second opportunity to test themselves against one of the best teams in baseball, the Angels once again were unable to measure up, falling, 9-1, to the Red Sox in Tuesday night's series opener at Fenway Park.
Mookie Betts hit a leadoff home run, and the Red Sox scored four more runs in the second inning to chase left-hander John Lamb and break the game open. Jackie Bradley Jr., Christian Vazquez and J.D. Martinez also homered for the Red Sox, who swept the Angels during their three-game series in Anaheim in April and have now outscored them by a 36-4 margin this season.
"We haven't solved them," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We've tried to make some adjustments. We're obviously going to work on it tonight, try to make some adjustments and hopefully have a better shot tomorrow. They've taken it to us. There's no way to sugarcoat it. We've got to do a lot of things better."
Chris Young launched a home run over the Green Monster off left-hander David Price to produce the lone run for the Angels, who have lost four in a row to slip 11 games out of first place in the American League West and eight games behind the Mariners for the second Wild Card spot.
Lamb lasted only 1 2/3 innings, yielding five runs (three earned) on six hits while walking two and striking out two. He has posted a 7.20 ERA over three starts while filling in for injured starters Garrett Richards and Nick Tropeano.
"He hasn't been able to bring all his stuff into the game," Scioscia said. "He hasn't been able to put some guys away. There were some good pitches he made tonight, but as a whole, he missed spots and those guys barreled it up."
Betts, who is considered a frontrunner for the AL MVP Award alongside Michael Trout, hammered Lamb's first pitch of the evening out to right-center field to put the Red Sox on the board. Right fielder Michael Hermosillo attempted to make a leaping catch at the wall, but he came up empty and wound up making a head-first tumble into Boston's bullpen.
"It was just a nice welcome to Fenway ballpark, I guess," Lamb said. "[Betts is] one of the better baseball players in the game right now. Tip my hat to him on squaring up a fastball that I tried to get ahead on the outside part of the plate. They got ahead in the run column. It is what it is."
Lamb then unraveled in the second, though he was hurt by a defensive miscue by Ian Kinsler. After Eduardo Nunez led off the inning with a single, Rafael Devers hit a potential double-play ball to Kinsler, who botched a backhanded grab and couldn't make the throw, putting runners on first and second with no outs.
"It kind of looked like it had some spin on it," Scioscia said. "Ian's as good as there is at second. It's just one that scooped away from him."
Bradley capitalized on Kinsler's error, delivering a two-run double to left field that extended the Red Sox's lead to 3-0. Betts followed with a walk, and Andrew Benintendi brought in another run with an RBI double. Lamb struck out Martinez looking for the second out and then intentionally walked Xander Bogaerts to face the left-handed-hitting Mitch Moreland. The gamble didn't work, as Moreland produced a broken-bat RBI single to knock Lamb out of the game.
"They obviously beat me there on a few pitches and hurt us in the long run," Lamb said. "As a starter, I just want to go out there and do my job, establish throwing my pitches for strikes. When I got ahead, they beat me."
Lamb, who departed with the Angels trailing, 5-0, was replaced by right-hander William McGuire, who coaxed a popout from Nunez to end the inning. McGuire pitched four innings in relief, though he allowed the Red Sox to pad their lead on solo homers by Bradley, Vazquez and Martinez, who collected his 24th home run of the season in the sixth inning to pass Trout and Jose Ramirez for the MLB lead.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Young's sixth home run of the season cut the Red Sox's lead to 5-1 in the third inning, and the Angels had a chance to trim the deficit even more after loading the bases with two outs against Price. Kinsler and Trout produced back-to-back singles, and Justin Upton walked to bring up Jose Pujols, but Price escaped the jam by inducing an inning-ending groundout.
The Angels are now 6-13 against left-handed starters this season.
Left-hander Andrew Heaney (4-5, 3.43 ERA) will oppose right-hander Rick Porcello (9-3, 3.44 ERA) as the Angels and Red Sox continue their three-game series on Wednesday night at 4:10 p.m. PT at Fenway Park. Heaney has pitched at least seven innings in three of his last four starts, and he picked up a win in his only start against the Red Sox on July 20, 2015, when he gave up two runs over seven innings. The contest will be broadcast as Wednesday's MLB Network Showcase game.