If the Boston Red Sox are to build on the momentum generated from a stellar homestand and improve their recent road play, they'll need to cool off the surging Los Angeles Angels .
The Red Sox look for a fifth straight victory Friday night while trying to prevent C.J. Wilson from winning a career-high fifth consecutive start for the Angels.
Boston (53-34) hit .349 and outscored Colorado, Toronto and San Diego 51-30 during an 8-1 homestand. Jacoby Ellsbury had three of the Red Sox's 18 hits and Dustin Pedroia delivered a two-run double in Thursday's 8-2 victory over the Padres.
The Red Sox have hit .319 and averaged 6.0 runs while winning 18 of 23 at Fenway Park, but batted .247 and scored 3.8 while losing seven of 10 on the road.
Boston manager John Farrell hopes his club can turn things around this week at Los Angeles, Seattle and Oakland before the All-Star break.
"I think it's important to have that momentum going into the break," he told the Red Sox's official website. "You never want to have a stretch where you start to maybe slide back from the confidence that's been built or the wins that we've been able to amass.
"So we're going to be challenged not only in terms of the teams we're playing. Obviously the Angels are playing better now than when they were in town here last."
Los Angeles (41-44) lost two of three at Fenway last month, but has won eight of nine heading into this three-game set.
"It's all about momentum," slugger Josh Hamilton said after the Angels scored three in the ninth to rally for a 6-5 win over St. Louis on Thursday. "We kind of feed off each other, especially during this little but of a stretch we've had."
The Angels swept a three-game home set from Boston last season after the Red Sox won the previous seven at Anaheim.
Pedroia is batting .486 with eight RBIs in his last 10 games overall, and .378 in his last nine versus Los Angeles.
He's 8 for 17 with a homer and three doubles against Wilson (8-5, 3.63 ERA), who has posted a 2.42 ERA while winning four in a row. The left-hander allowed an unearned run, three hits and struck out 10 during Sunday's 3-1 victory at Houston.
Wilson has yielded two runs and seven hits over 14 innings to win two straight at home. However, he's 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts against the Red Sox after he went 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA in his first five.
In his most recent loss, Wilson allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings of a 7-2 defeat at Boston on June 8.
Mike Trout , who had a two-run single Thursday for Los Angeles, is batting .415 with a homer and six RBIs in nine games versus Boston.
Hamilton went 2 for 14 at Fenway last month but is 12 for 30 (.400) with six RBIs in nine games to raise his average from .207 to .226. His lone home run during that stretch was a tying two-run shot in the ninth Thursday.
He's 4 for 9 with two doubles and a triple against scheduled Red Sox starter Felix Doubront (4-3, 4.22), who allowed three runs in six innings of a 9-5 loss to the Angels last month.
That's the only decision the left-hander has earned while posting a 3.00 ERA in his last five starts. He gave up two runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-2 loss to Toronto on Saturday.
|Boston Red Sox|
|June 28, 2013||Stephen Drew||Day-to-Day||Left game - right hamstring tightness|
|June 23, 2013||Shane Victorino||Day-to-Day||Left game - back|
|June 23, 2013||Franklin Morales||15-Day DL||Strained left pectoral|
|June 22, 2013||Franklin Morales||Day-to-Day||Back|
|June 15, 2013||David Ross||60-Day DL||Concussion|
|June 11, 2013||Clayton Mortensen||15-Day DL||Right hip impingement|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|June 30, 2013||Peter Bourjos||15-Day DL||Nondisplaced bone fracture, right wrist|
|June 29, 2013||Peter Bourjos||Day-to-Day||Left game - right wrist|
|June 23, 2013||Peter Bourjos||Day-to-Day||Left game - left thumb injury|
|June 21, 2013||Tommy Hanson||15-Day DL||Strained right forearm|
|June 21, 2013||Josh Hamilton||Day-to-Day||Right wrist soreness|
|June 18, 2013||Jason Vargas||15-Day DL||Blood clot, left arm|
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- David Ortiz was scheduled to get the night off, although he told Boston manager John Farrell that he was available.
"We'd be crazy not to use David, given his production and capability," Farrell said.
So Ortiz came in to pinch-hit for Brandon Snyder with the Red Sox clinging to a one-run lead in the eighth inning. Big Papi responded with a two-run homer to help Boston beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-2 in the series opener on Friday night.
"I don't like pinch-hitting," he said. "I don't think I'm that good."
Ortiz visited the batting cage between innings to keep himself loose.
"Stop being surprised when this guy hits home runs," teammate Jonny Gomes said. "It's hard to pinch-hit, but it's hard to DH, too. He's got that mindset."
Shane Victorino scored the go-ahead run in the seventh on a dropped fly ball by Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton , giving the AL East-leading Red Sox their fifth straight victory and ninth in 10 games after losing all three games at Angel Stadium last season.
They improved to a season-high 20 games over .500 for the first time since Sept. 23, 2011.
"In the dugout there's a lot of positive energy," Farrell said. "Somewhere we'll find a way to put something together. It seems like every night there's someone different."
Victorino singled leading off the seventh against C.J. Wilson (8-6). Wilson retired the next two batters before Gomes hit a towering fly toward the right field line that should have ended the inning.
Hamilton ran a long way and stuck out his glove, but the ball bounced off it, allowing Victorino to score from first base.
"It's just unfortunate that the ball unraveled on that one," Wilson said about Hamilton's error. "But it's a big adjustment to move from center to right on a permanent basis, and I think he's still in the adjustment phase with that. But he's doing the best he can.
"Sometimes he's made plays where he's a little bit hesitant, just because the lights are in a different place and all that stuff."
Wilson was replaced by Dane De La Rosa, who ended the inning by picking off Gomes.
Felix Doubront (5-3) allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings, struck out five and walked two. The left-hander retired 10 in a row after giving up a game-tying homer to Howie Kendrick leading off the fourth.
"He had good stuff and was on the plate with his fastball and a very good changeup," Farrell said. "He has weapons to keep guys off-stride."
Doubront has been on a roll in his last nine starts, giving up three earned runs or fewer since May 16 with a 2.87 ERA in that stretch.
"Just want to keep that pace and help the team win," he said. "My arm feels good now. All my pitches are pretty good."
Ortiz slugged his 17th homer of the season to right field on an 0-1 pitch from De La Rosa, scoring Daniel Nava who led off with a double.
"I'm sure after De La Rosa got ahead with a changeup he was probably looking to tease him," Farrell said. "It's a luxury having that guy available."
Former Angel Mike Napoli homered with two outs in the ninth inning, making it 6-2.
Wilson allowed three runs - one earned - and 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings, struck out five and walked two, but was let down by the Angels' defensive miscues.
"It's frustrating," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "You look at games where we've supported our pitching on the defensive end, but when you're not making plays, it adds up. Not only are you giving up runs, but you're making your whole staff throw more pitches and we've paid the price for that."
Wilson gave up three consecutive two-out singles to load the bases in the sixth before fielding a soft broken-bat liner from Jacoby Ellsbury to end the inning. Wilson flipped the ball into the stands as he jogged back to the dugout.
"I struggled a little bit getting ahead in the count, and when I did get two strikes on those guys, I didn't put them away. That's why they got so many hits," he said. "They were out there just trying to put the ball in play, and they hit a lot of balls through the middle of the field, which is a pretty good plan. But they're hot."
The Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the second on Jarrod Saltalamacchia 's RBI single and a fielding error by left fielder J.B. Shuck.
The Angels, who had won eight of nine, scored their first run on Albert Pujols ' double-play groundout in the third.
Pujols and Hamilton each went 1 for 4, and Mike Trout was 1 for 3 with a walk for the Angels.
Notes: Angels RHP Jered Weaver became a father on Friday when his wife gave birth to son Aden David Weaver. The baby is named for Weaver's late teammate and friend Nick Adenhart , who was killed by a drunken driver in 2009, hours after pitching in his season debut. ... The Red Sox placed SS Stephen Drew on the DL, retroactive to June 29, and recalled RHP Jose De La Torre from Triple-A Pawtucket. Drew says his right hamstring continues to improve, but that it made sense for him to let it heal before returning. ... The Angels will start RHP Jerome Williams on Saturday, three days after he started in a 12-2 loss to St. Louis. ... It was Ortiz's fifth career pinch-hit homer, and his first since May 29, 2011, at Detroit.