BOSTON (AP) -
produced as many runs with one swing against
as the right-hander's five previous opponents combined.
Hunter hit a three-run homer and
added a two-run shot in Los Angeles' six-run sixth inning, helping the Angels beat Boston 7-5 Monday night for their sixth
straight regular-season win against the
worked the ninth for his major league-best 44th save for the Angels, who held on for the win against a team that swept them
3-0 in both the 2004 and 2007 AL division series. Los Angeles has won 10 of 12 overall.
''I don't know if there's any rhyme or reason to some of the streaks,'' Angels manager
said, ''but we've been playing more consistent baseball this season on the road and at home.''
Los Angeles (65-40) improved baseball's best road record to 34-19. Boston has the AL's best home record at 37-14, but has
lost three of its last four at Fenway Park.
remained one game behind AL East-leading Tampa Bay, which lost at Toronto. The Angels started the day with a 10 1/2-game lead
in the West over Oakland.
''They might be the class of the American League right now,''
said after the opener of the three-game series. ''They have tremendous starting pitching, a very good bullpen, a lot of speed.
They catch the ball very well. I could name a lot of things. Hopefully, tomorrow I won't be naming those things and we'll
end up winning.''
The Angels swept the
in Los Angeles from July 18-20.
Kotchman's homer gave the Angels a 3-2 lead. Hunter's shot drove Matsuzaka (11-2) from the game after he hadn't given up a
homer in any of his previous five starts and one in the previous eight.
''This guy gave up three runs in the last five starts and, pow, you hit a homer,'' Hunter said. ''I know he's a good pitcher
and I had to let that go and just swing hard just in case you hit it.''
singled home Boston's first two runs and homered off Rodriguez for the last run in the ninth. It was his 20th homer, making
him the eighth player to hit that many in 14 consecutive seasons.
It came a day after he said he would agree to a trade if it would make him and the
happy. Boston has a $20 million option for next year on Ramirez, who said he was ''tired'' of the team.
With more than two months left in the season, Rodriguez is just 13 saves shy of
's record of 57 with the
in 1990. No other player this season has more than 30 saves.
(9-8) allowed three runs in 5 1-3 innings for Los Angeles in his first start since last Tuesday when he left after three innings
with tightness in his back. He said he felt fine Monday.
Boston managed just a single in the first three innings before taking a 2-1 lead in the fourth.
drew a leadoff walk,
doubled and Ramirez singled them home.
Matsuzaka retired the side in order in the fourth and fifth, striking out three of the six batters, but the first five batters
of the sixth all reached base - and scored.
''There were some mistakes that I thought we missed earlier,'' Scioscia said. ''In the sixth inning, when he made a mistake,
we didn't miss it.''
walked and stole second before Kotchman connected for his 12th homer of the season.
singled and both scored on Hunter's 16th homer.
Hunter had two homers and five RBIs in an 11-6 win over Baltimore on Saturday.
''He's felt a real comfort level in the box probably over his last 30 at-bats or so,'' Scioscia said.
then replaced Matsuzaka and allowed the final run of the inning on a suicide squeeze by
''When I'm facing a good team like the Angels, I need to mix up my pitches a little bit more,'' Matsuzaka said.
squandered opportunities in the sixth, when
struck out with the bases loaded, and the seventh, when Ramirez grounded into an inning-ending double play with runners at
first and second.
''They tried to fight back,'' said
, who allowed Ellsbury's RBI single in the eighth, ''but as a whole the bullpen made the pitches.''
Notes: Boston 2B
failed to reach base for the first time in 30 games, going 0-for-5. ... Matsuzaka missed a chance to join five other
pitchers who started a season at 12-1 or better -