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On Papi's night, Leon's 4 RBIs power Sox

June 23, 2017

BOSTON -- David Ortiz returned to Fenway Park on Friday night for the first time since his retirement to watch the Red Sox affix his No. 34 atop the right-field facade during a special pregame ceremony. The Red Sox gave him even more reason to celebrate afterward, as Hanley Ramirez

BOSTON -- David Ortiz returned to Fenway Park on Friday night for the first time since his retirement to watch the Red Sox affix his No. 34 atop the right-field facade during a special pregame ceremony. The Red Sox gave him even more reason to celebrate afterward, as Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon homered to fuel a 9-4 series-opening victory over the Angels.
Boston scored three runs in a wild first inning for Angels right-hander Alex Meyer and later seized a 5-1 lead behind Ramirez's two-run homer in the fourth. Leon, who matched his career high with four RBIs, launched a two-run shot of his own in the sixth and added a two-run double in the eighth to cap the festive night at Fenway Park.
"We've got a good team here," said Leon. "We wanted to just get a win here for David today, because he deserved that."
Red Sox retire Big Papi's No. 34

Meyer, who entered Friday with a 1.91 ERA in his previous six starts, lasted only 3 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts.

"I don't know if he was a little bit amped up, but he was yanking the ball," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Just really had trouble getting into his rhythm and release point, and obviously paid a price for it in the first inning. We'll turn the page on this one. It wasn't a great outing for him."
Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello improved to 4-9 after giving up four runs (three earned) on eight hits while walking one and striking out eight over 6 1/3 innings. Porcello cruised through the first six innings, limiting the Angels to just one unearned run, but he fell into trouble in the seventh.

"It was a little bit better location today than it has been the last couple of starts," said Porcello. "I threw some better breaking balls. I kept guys off-balance. In that regard, it was definitely better, but I've got to finish that ballgame off better than I did."

Porcello allowed a one-out double to Ben Revere, who then scored on Martin Maldonado's RBI triple. Cliff Pennington followed with an RBI double to cut the deficit to 7-3, prompting Boston manager John Farrell to lift Porcello in favor of Richard Hembree. The Angels pulled within three on Kole Calhoun's RBI double, but Hembree struck out Jose Pujols to end the inning, ending the Halos' best hope for a rally.
One of the few bright spots for the Angels was the return of right-hander Huston Street, who pitched a scoreless seventh in his season debut. Street, who was activated off the disabled list on Thursday, had not pitched for the Halos all year due to a lat strain. Friday marked Street's first Major League appearance since July 31, 2016.
Street throws scoreless frame in debut

Meyer's erratic first: Meyer struggled from the outset, issuing back-to-back walks to Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia to start the game. Xander Bogaerts followed with an RBI double, and Pedroia scored on a wild pitch, giving the Red Sox a 2-0 lead before they had even recorded an out. Meyer uncorked a second wild pitch during an at-bat against Andrew Benintendi, which brought home Bogaerts from third, and needed 38 pitches to get out of the inning.

"It's unacceptable," Meyer said. "You can't go out there and put two guys on before basically the game starts. It's frustrating. There's not much more to say than that. The first inning was just unacceptable."
Hanley goes yard: Meyer appeared to settle into a groove after his laborious first and entered the fourth having retired nine batters in a row. He opened the inning by inducing a flyout from Mitch Moreland but then yielded a double to Benintendi. Ramirez subsequently smashed a 3-2 curveball just inside Pesky's Pole for a two-run homer, extending Boston's lead to 5-1. Ramirez's 10th homer of the season had an exit velocity of 96 mph and traveled a projected 350 feet, according to Statcast™.

"He stayed behind a breaking ball pretty good," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "To be able to drive the ball the other way like he did, maybe gets a little benefit from Pesky's Pole, but that is besides the point. Squaring up a ball going the other way, that's what has always been a key for Hanley when he has good plate coverage, and that was the case on the breaking ball in that at-bat."
Hanley 250th homer lands near Pesky's Pole

"Yeah, it was a special night. He means a lot to us and this city. He played with a lot of guys, and he affected them in a major way. He obviously knows how we all feel about him. Just to reiterate that to him meant a lot." -- Pedroia, on his speech during the Ortiz ceremony

Angels right-hander Eduardo Paredes, who was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake before Friday's game, made his Major League debut after relieving Meyer in the fourth. The 22-year-old held the Red Sox scoreless in his first two innings of work before surrendering a two-run homer to Leon in the sixth. Paredes, ranked the Angels' No. 15 prospect by, was charged with two runs on two hits with one walk and one strikeout over 2 2/3 innings. More >
In the bottom of the fifth inning with Bogaerts on first, Moreland hit a ground ball to Pennington at second. Pennington relayed the ball to shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who got the force out at second base. Bogaerts slid past the bag and collided with Simmons, and second-base umpire Adam Hamari ruled the slide as interference and called Moreland out as well, making it an inning-ending double play. Farrell challenged the ruling, but the call on the field was confirmed.

In the eighth, the Angels challenged that Jackie Bradley Jr. was tagged out by Maldonado on Leon's two-run double. The call on the field was confirmed, preserving the Red Sox's 9-4 lead.
The Red Sox improved to 10-1 this season in home games when they don't allow a home run.
Angels: Right-hander JC Ramirez will start for the Angels on Saturday as they continue their three-game series with the Red Sox at 4:15 p.m. PT at Fenway Park. In four career relief appearances against the Red Sox, Ramirez has fired four scoreless innings.
Red Sox: Left-hander David Price (2-1, 5.14 ERA) will look to put together consecutive wins for the first time this season when he takes the mound against the Angels on Saturday. Price has struggled with his command recently, giving up 11 walks in his last three outings. The game is slated to start at 7:15 p.m. ET.
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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.