ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Turns out the first half of the season was merely rough for the Boston Red Sox. Four games out at the All-Star break, the summer has gone from unpleasant to ugly.
Albert Pujols hit three homers while the Los Angeles Angels swept a doubleheader from the Red Sox on Monday, completing a four-game sweep of Boston with a 7-3 victory in the nightcap Monday.
Pujols, Kole Calhoun and David Freese homered during an 11-1 win in the first game, chasing Eduardo Rodriguez (5-3) in the second inning. Trout then homered along with two more homers by Pujols in the second game, sending the Red Sox (42-51) into a last-place tie with Seattle in the AL after their fifth straight loss.
“This was a disappointing series all the way around,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “We fully expected to come in and put together a better series than what played out. Tonight, after a tough first game, I thought we came out swinging the bats well. But there were a number of hard-hit balls right at some people.”
David Ortiz still posed at the plate when he hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning of the nightcap for the Red Sox, who were outscored 22-4 in the series.
The Angels consistently tagged knuckleballer Steven Wright (3-3), who yielded six hits and six runs in the Southern California native’s first appearance since June 20.
“I felt like I was maybe I was overthrowing (the knuckleball) just a little bit, but it was definitely moving more than it has in a while,” Wright said. “So it’s definitely gets frustrating, because when you can’t throw it for strikes, it does limit your options.”
Pujols homered in both games of a doubleheader for the first time in his career. He caught and passed Mike Schmidt for 15th place in baseball history, hitting his 549th career homer in the seventh to essentially wrap up a four-game sweep of the woeful Sox.
“I enjoy it because I was able to do something tonight to help my ballclub win,” Pujols said. “It’s about the team, man. It’s not about personal success. We’re on top right now, and we can’t take that for granted.”
The $240 million Dominican slugger has hit his stride in his fourth season with the Angels, who are soaring right along with his homers. The Angels (52-40) have won five straight and 15 of 18 overall while Pujols and Trout chase the overall major league lead in homers.
“I don’t know anything about hitting, but it’s fun to watch the ball leave the yard,” said Angels rookie Andrew Heaney, who pitched seven strong innings.
Pujols cracked his 547th homer during the Angels’ seven-run second inning in the opener. He reached the short left-field porch with a solo shot in the second inning of the nightcap, passing Ty Cobb for 12th place in baseball history with his 1,137th extra-base hit.
After Trout pulled back even with Pujols with his 28th homer in the fifth, Pujols nudged back ahead with his 29th. The All-Star duo homered in the same game for the seventh time this year and the 24th time in their 3 1/2 seasons together.
The Angels limited Boston to four runs in 36 innings, continuing their strong season out of the break. After All-Star Hector Santiago (7-4) labored into the sixth inning to win the opener, Heaney (4-0) won his fourth straight decision in his first month with the Angels, yielding five hits without a walk. Joe Smith got the final four outs for his first save.
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia changed his mind about sitting out the nightcap to be cautious with his previously strained right hamstring. He went 0 for 2 with a walk in the opener, and he went 0 for 4 in the second game.
Angels: Reliever Cory Rasmus was added for the nightcap as the 26th player allowed in doubleheaders.
Red Sox: Promising LHP Brian Johnson makes his major league debut in Houston.
Angels: Matt Shoemaker (4-7, 4.85 ERA) opens a home series with Minnesota. He has been the weakest link in a stellar rotation, and could lose his spot to Jered Weaver if he struggles again.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.