BOSTON — Rookie right-hander Matt Shoemaker, who is more important to the Los Angeles Angels with the loss of Garrett Richards for the season, flirted with a no-hitter at Fenway Park on Thursday night.
Shoemaker hit the first batter of the game, then retired 20 in a row before third baseman Will Middlebrooks doubled with two outs in the seventh of the Angels’ 2-0 win over the Boston Red Sox.
Shoemaker (12-4) only allowed the one hit in 7 2/3 innings. He threw a career-high 116 pitches, walked one and struck out nine. Mike Morin ended the eighth with a strikeout, and Jason Grilli pitched a perfect ninth for his 12th save, his first with his new team, capping the one-hitter.
The win completed Los Angeles’ second four-game sweep at Fenway Park (the other was in 1962) and increased the Angels’ lead in the American League West to two games over the idle Oakland Athletics. The teams open a three-game series in Oakland on Friday night, then play four games in Anaheim the following weekend.
Shoemaker pitched three hitless innings of relief to win a 19-inning game against the Red Sox in Anaheim on Aug. 9, so he had thrown 9 2/3 consecutive hitless frames against Boston before Middlebrooks lined his hit down the left field line.
Middlebrooks sat out Wednesday’s game and didn’t start Thursday due to a hamstring strain. He came on in the fourth inning when left fielder Yoenis Cespedes exited for personal reasons.
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols and manager Mike Scioscia were both ejected from the game by plate umpire Andy Fletcher after Pujols was called out on strikes in sixth inning.
The Angels, who got confirmation earlier in the day that Richards will undergo season-ending surgery next week to repair a torn left patellar tendon, are 6-1 on their current road trip and have won eight of their past nine. The Angels (76-50) have also won 10 of their last 12 at Fenway and 16 of their last 21 against the Red Sox overall.
Los Angeles designated hitter Josh Hamilton, continuing his climb out of a slump, doubled home a first-inning run against right-hander Rubby de La Rosa (4-5). Right fielder Kole Calhoun added a seventh-inning sacrifice fly. Shortstop Erick Aybar went 3-for-4 and was robbed of another hit, stole a base and scored the second run.
De La Rosa pitched well, allowing two runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. The Red Sox (56-71) lost their fifth straight and fell to a season-worst 15 games under .500.
NOTES: LHP Wade LeBlanc was selected from Salt Lake City and will start Monday night. ... The Angels acquired 2B Gordon Beckham from the Chicago White Sox for a player to be named or cash, and also optioned OF Brennan Boesch to Triple-A Salt Lake and recalled RHP Cam Bedrosian. ... Los Angeles promoted LHP Wade LeBlanc from Salt Lake to replace RHP Garrett Richards, who was placed on the 60-day disabled list. ... The Red Sox activated OF/1B Allen Craig from a rehab assignment that ran three games instead of four and he was the DH on Thursday, with David Ortiz resting. Craig went 0-for-3. Boston optioned OF/1B Alex Hassan to Triple-A Pawtucket. ... Red Sox management took the Ice Bucket Challenge on the field Thursday. ... LHP Hector Santiago opens the Angels’ big series in Oakland on Friday night. ... RHP Joe Kelly goes for his first win in four tries for his new team when Boston hosts Seattle and ace RHP Felix Hernandez on Friday night.