BOSTON -- The Red Sox felt home advantage came into play in the truest sense while edging out the Angels in a thrilling, 5-4 victory on Friday night at Fenway Park.With two outs in the ninth and Mike Trout on first, Daniel Nava belted one down the line in right
BOSTON -- The Red Sox felt home advantage came into play in the truest sense while edging out the Angels in a thrilling, 5-4 victory on Friday night at Fenway Park.
With two outs in the ninth and Mike Trout on first, Daniel Nava belted one down the line in right against Craig Kimbrel for what was ruled a ground-rule double. Replays showed a fan touched it before it went out of play. The hit might have stayed in play otherwise, and Trout easily would have scored the tying run. Angels manager Mike Scioscia issued for a challenge, but the call stood. If the call had been overturned to fan interference, Trout likely would have been permitted to score.
"That was huge. We played with 26 players tonight," said Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who belted career home run No. 522 to pass Ted Williams, Willie McCovey and Frank Thomas for 19th on the all-time list -- his 2,000th hit with the Red Sox.
"I was applauding him," Red Sox third baseman Travis Shaw said of the fan. "He was the player of the game."
Scioscia called it "a joke" that the initial call was overturned, but referenced Jhoulys Chacin's tough start and his offense going 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position as another reason for the Angels' 10th loss in the last 11 games.
"You're not going to hang your hat on one play," Scioscia said. "We had a lot of chances and couldn't get some things done."
• Replay on Nava double costs Halos at Fenway
Knuckleballer Steven Wright earned (9-5, 2.42 ERA) despite allowing a grand slam to C.J. Cron in the top of the sixth that slimmed Boston's five-run lead to one.
• After hot June, Cron begins July with 1st slam
Ortiz (3-for-4) lined his milestone homer own the line in right in the bottom of the fifth, a solo shot that sparked a three-run inning for the Red Sox. The Red Sox generated 16 hits, including three from Mookie Betts and two each from Jackie Bradley Jr., Brock Holt (first game back from concussion), Christian Vazquez and Marco Hernandez.
Wright was in complete control over the first five innings but the rain that started falling in the sixth changed everything. No longer able to get a grip on his knuckleball, Wright had to become over-reliant on his fastball and gave up a double to Albert Pujols while hitting Jefry Marte and walking Nava to set up the slam.
"Definitely makes it a little bit harder," Wright said of the conditions. "You can't get the grip on the ball. It's one of those things that I'm going to have to figure it out."
A one-hour, 35-minute rain delay took place prior to the bottom of the sixth. If the Angels had built up some momentum just prior to the delay, Boston's late-inning crew of Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Kimbrel stymied it.
It was an important win for the Red Sox, who wanted to start July strong after going 10-16 in June.
"We didn't play that good on the last road trip," said Ortiz. "Coming home, we have to play better and hopefully this win is the start of something good."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Papi's latest milestone(s): Not only did Ortiz pass three Hall of Famers with one home-run swing, but he became the seventh player with 2,000 hits as a member of the Red Sox. His next targets on Major League Baseball's homer list? Jimmie Foxx (534) and Mickey Mantle (536).
"Like I've said before, any time you can attach your name to Mr. Williams, that's a good thing. The man did it all," said Ortiz. More >
Chacin struggles again: Chacin had yet another rough start, giving up five runs on 12 hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings to inflate his ERA to 5.87. Chacin has been charged with 23 earned runs in 21 2/3 innings over his last five starts, giving up 38 hits and 15 walks while striking out 10. He could lose his spot in the rotation to Nick Tropeano, who is eligible to be called up from Triple-A on Monday.
"It's really frustrating," Chacin said. "I've never had a rough stretch like that in my career when I was healthy. It's really hard to not think about it. I'm just trying to do my best. Even in the bullpen today I had a lot of confidence. I was trying to throw the ball where the catcher told me, and whenever I had two strikes on hitters, I just couldn't make that last pitch and get out of the inning."
Holt's immediate impact: In his return from the disabled list, Holt showed why the Red Sox have been missing him. The left fielder made a nice play in the corner to cut down Cron, who was trying to stretch a single, in the fourth. Holt scored twice and had two doubles.
"It felt good," said Holt. "It felt good just to be back out here and contribute a little bit. It's a lot longer than I had hoped to be out, but I'm happy to be back, for sure." More >
Trout stays put: Trout said he could've easily scored on Nava's ninth-inning base hit down the right-field line had it bounced back into the field of play, but the Angels' center fielder had opportunities to get in scoring position before it. There was the fastball that squirted away from Vazquez and the fly ball to center field that Albert Pujols produced, which could've been deep enough to take a chance on.
"I should've been on second base," Trout said regarding the ball that got away from Vazquez, the Red Sox catcher. "I thought it didn't go as far as it did. That angle I had, the ball was coming to me, so I couldn't really see how far it got away from the catcher."
"We were joking that we were going to have to take him out to dinner because I think that ball was going to come back into play and obviously Trout is probably going to score on that ball and it would have been another tough situation here. Fortunately, [the fan] has pretty good hand-eye coordination." -- Betts, on Nava's ground-rule double in the ninth
"What stinks is that you'll never know, because that fan grabbed the ball. Whether it was in play, out of play, we won't know. And that's the part that's hard." -- Nava, on the fan interfering with the outcome
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Trout reached 5.0 FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement in his 80th game, tops among Major League position players and putting him on pace for his third 10-WAR season in five years. Trout, who has had at least two hits in seven of his last eight games, also picked up his 12th stolen base, one more than he had all of last season.
When Xander Bogaerts delivered an RBI grounder in the first, it marked the first time the Red Sox scored in the first inning since June 11. Over the previous 17 games, the Sox had been outscored 22-0 in the first.
Cron cut the Angels' deficit from five to one with one swing in the sixth, with his first career grand slam. The ball left Cron's bat at 110 mph and traveled a projected 358 feet, according to Statcast™, giving the Angels their second grand slam this season. Cron is batting .329 (26-for-79) with four home runs in his last 25 games.
Angels:Hector Santiago starts for the Angels in the second of a three-game series from Fenway Park on Saturday at 4:15 p.m. PT. The 28-year-old left-hander struggled in his last start against the A's, giving up six runs on seven hits and four walks in seven innings. He has allowed nine runs on 14 hits and seven walks in 13 1/3 career innings in Boston.
Red Sox: Right-hander Clay Buchholz, who has struggled in the first inning in both starts since he returned from the rotation, will try to display more consistency when he takes the ball in the 7:15 p.m. ET start against the Angels. Buchholz has a 9.75 ERA in the first inning of his 12 starts this season.
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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.
Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for MLB.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.