Angels avert 4-game sweep with 5-4 victory over Red Sox

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

BOSTON – Hunter Renfroe hit a three-run, first-inning homer and Los Angeles held off the Boston Red Sox 5-4 on Monday in the annual Patriots’ Day game that had Angels’ two-way star Shohei Ohtani’s pitching start shortened by a long rain delay.

Renfroe drove in four runs, helping the Angels avoid a four-game series sweep.

Ohtani gave up a run in two hitless innings, walking the leadoff hitter and throwing two wild pitches before Rob Refsnyder’s run-scoring ground out.

He’s given up only two runs in 21 innings over four starts this season.

“I felt like I could go back out there but we just didn’t know exactly how long the delay was going to be,” he said through a translator. “It was a really early game, that was probably the hardest part.”

Renfroe, who hit 31 homers with the Red Sox in 2021, hit a 95.6 mph sinker from Brayan Bello (0-1) into the last row of the Green Monster seats during a four-run first. Brandon Drury added a sacrifice fly in the inning.

Rafael Devers’ RBI single off Carlos Estévez sliced the score to 5-4 in the ninth. But Estévez struck out Refsnyder and got Masataka Yoshida to pop out with two runners on for the final out and his second save.

Unlike most years when the Boston Marathon’s lead runners go through nearby Kenmore Square while the game’s going on, men’s defending champion Evans Chebet crossed the finish line about 25 minutes before the first pitch.

Heavy rain fell briefly before Ohtani took the mound in the second inning, but the grounds crew spread rapid dry around the infield causing a brief delay.

The second “official” delay came in the top of the third after the start was pushed back 56 minutes by rain, and that was it on the mound for the Angels’ star.

“As much I know he keeps himself ready to pitch, once we got past that 35, 40-minute mark I wasn’t going to send him back out,” Los Angeles manager Phil Nevin said.

Asked if his next start could get moved, Nevin said: “We’re going to talk about it.”

Ohtani struck out three, throwing 31 pitches, 20 strikes, but went 2 for 5 at the plate with two singles.

Tucker Davidson (1-1) worked 3 1/3 innings for the victory.

“We had a really good start going on and Tucker came in after the rain delay and did a really good job,” Renfroe said.

Zach Neto, the Angels’ 22-year-old shortstop who was promoted from Double-A on Saturday, singled to left for his first major-league hit after starting his career 0 for 9.

Ohtani struck out former World Baseball Classic teammate Yoshida swinging with a 98.4 mph fastball in their only matchup in the first inning.

Bello allowed five runs and eight hits in 2 2/3 innings.

“It seems like they were hunting hard down and they put some good at-bats,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora of the hitters’ approach against Bello.


The Red Sox wore home white jerseys that read “Boston” in red letters across the front instead of “Red Sox.”

It’s the jersey they wore in their first game back in Fenway Park after the finish line bombings that killed three people and wounded hundreds more in the 2013 Boston Marathon.


After struggling and not getting his warmup jacket zippered until the third pitch following his first-inning single, Ohtani just handed it back to first base coach Damon Mashore after his second-inning single.


When asked before the game about his team facing Ohtani, Cora said: “Hopefully, he’s not a morning person.”

The scheduled start was pushed from 11:10 to just after noon.


Angels: Catcher Logan O’Hoppe dropped his bat and grabbed his left shoulder following a swing in the first inning but stayed in after chatting with a trainer and singled to left. … Center fielder Mike Trout had the day off.

Red Sox: Cora said left-hander James Paxton (strained right hamstring) was expected to throw a bullpen session Monday.


Angels: Open a three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night. LHP José Suarez (0-1, 10.80 ERA) is set to face New York RHP Clarke Schmidt (0-0, 8.44).

Red Sox: Begin a three-game series Tuesday in Fenway against the Twins when Boston lefty Chris Sale (1-1, 11.25) is scheduled to go against RHP Sonny Gray (2-0, 0.53).

Rich Hill keeps Cardinals off balance into 7th, Pirates complete three-game sweep with 2-1 victory


PITTSBURGH – When he’s on, Rich Hill‘s pitches still dance. They still dart. They go this way. Then that way. They can baffle hitters with their movement, particularly the ones that don’t come close to breaking the speed limit on most interstates.

In a game that seems to get faster each year, Hill is a throwback. A survivor. At 43 and 19 years into a career he figured would have been over long ago, the well-traveled left-hander knows he’s essentially playing on borrowed time.

Hill is in Pittsburgh to show a young staff how to be a pro while occasionally showing the kids he can still bring it. That example was on display in a 2-1 victory over St. Louis on Sunday that gave Pittsburgh a three-game sweep of its longtime NL Central nemesis.

Knowing the bullpen needed a bit of a break, Hill (5-5) kept the Cardinals off balance for 6 2/3 innings, expertly weaving in and out of trouble with a series of curveballs that hover around 70 mph offset by a fastball that can touch 90 mph but plays up because everything else comes in so much softer.

Hill walked three and struck out six while giving up just one run, a seventh-inning homer by Andrew Knizner that drew the Cardinals within one. He allowed the leadoff hitter to reach in the first four innings and stranded them all as the Pirates pushed their winning streak to five.

“He threw the pitches he wanted to throw,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “They didn’t swing at them. The fact that he’s able to just bounce back and continue to execute shows how savvy he is as a veteran.”

Ji Hwan Bae‘s two-run single off Miles Mikolas (4-2) in the first provided all the offense Hill would need as Pittsburgh swept St. Louis for the first time in five years. Ke'Bryan Hayes singled three times and is hitting .562 (9 for 16) over his last four games after a 3-for-32 funk dropped him to seventh in the batting order.

David Bednar worked the ninth for his 13th save and third in as many days, striking out Knizner with a 98 mph fastball that provided an exclamation point to three days of tight, meaningful baseball, the kind the Pirates haven’t played much of for the better part of a decade.

“We know we have a very good team,” Hill said. “We’ve had meetings in here and we talk about it and reinforce it and just continue to go out there and give that effort every single night and understand that (if) we continue to put in the work, it’ll start to show every night on the field.”

Tommy Edman had two hits for the Cardinals, and designated hitter Luken Baker picked up the first two hits of his career after being called up from Triple-A Memphis early Sunday.

The middle of the St. Louis lineup – Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Gorman and Nolan Arenado – went a combined 0 for 11 as St. Louis lost for the fifth time in six games. The Cardinals left 27 men on base at PNC Park over the weekend to fall back into last place in one of the weakest divisions in the majors.

It’s a division the Pirates – coming off back-to-back 100-loss seasons – are managing to hang around the top of for a solid two months. The bullpen has evolved into a strength, with Bednar at the back end and a series of flashy hard throwers like Dauri Moreta in the middle.

Moreta came on for Hill with two outs in the seventh and struck out Goldschmidt with the tying run at first while Hill was in the dugout accepting high-fives, already thinking about his next start, likely on Saturday against the New York Mets. It’s a mindset that has kept Hill around for far longer than he ever imagined.

“Every time he picks up a baseball, I know he feels blessed to be able to continue to throw baseballs for a living,” Pirates catcher Austin Hedges said. “I think that’s one of the best things he can teach our young guys.”


Cardinals: Continue a six-game road trip in Texas against the Rangers on Monday. Adam Wainwright (2-1, 6.15 ERA) faces Martín Pérez (6-1, 4.43 ERA) in the opener.

Pirates: A season-long nine-game homestand continues on Monday when lowly Oakland visits. Johan Oviedo (3-4, 4.50 ERA) gets the start against JP Sears (0-3, 4.37 ERA).