ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)When the last out of his first shutout in five years was secured, Michael Wacha pumped his fist and sought out catcher Christian Vazquez for a congratulatory embrace.
Wacha pitched a three-hitter and the streaking Boston Red Sox beat Los Angeles 1-0 on Monday night to hand the Angels their 12th straight defeat.
”Wins like this, yeah, Michael was the star, he was amazing for us,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. ”But this was a total team effort. A 1-0 game, nine innings, nowadays you don’t see that. I’m just glad that I’m part of it.”
Vazquez hit an RBI single in the second as the Red Sox won their fifth in a row.
The Angels matched their longest slide in a single season, last done to end the 1988 schedule.
Los Angeles star Mike Trout had a first-inning single off Wacha to end an 0-for-26 drought, the longest hitless run of his career.
Wacha, who hadn’t worked into the eighth inning since 2018, threw 105 pitches for his second career complete game in 190 starts and first since a three-hit shutout for St. Louis at the New York Mets on July 18, 2017.
It was the first complete-game shutout by a Boston pitcher in three years. The veteran right-hander outdueled Noah Syndergaard, who went six strong innings for Los Angeles, and lowered his ERA to 1.99 in his first season with the Red Sox.
”You’ve got to have confidence in this game to get it done,” Wacha said. ”I feel like with what my pitches are doing right now, and how it’s playing against certain hitters, I felt like if we can get early outs and get the strikeout whenever we need it, things like this can happen.”
The gem came in Wacha’s fourth start since returning from a stint on the injured list because of soreness in his left side.
”My last start, things were coming out how I was used to it and just continue to build off those previous starts after coming off the IL,” Wacha said. ”That is what I was more satisfied with. Now continue to build off this one and take some stuff from here and work on it.”
Trout snapped his slump his first time up, but the Los Angeles offense mustered little else in the opener of a seven-game homestand.
”He’s arguably one of the best players, top three, and maybe the best by the end of time,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said about Trout. ”And today he was taking (batting practice) at 12:30 against guys we had to bring in to throw to him. That tells you about the motivation.”
Wacha (4-1) issued one walk and had six strikeouts in his second scoreless outing against the Angels this season. The former Cardinals standout went 5 2/3 shutout innings against Los Angeles at home on May 3.
Syndergaard (4-4) gave up five hits with one walk and three strikeouts. The former New York Mets star also matched up against Wacha on May 3, giving up three runs on eight hits over seven innings while taking the loss.
The Angels appeared to be in business in the first inning, getting consecutive one-out singles from Shohei Ohtani and Trout. But then Ohtani was doubled off second base to end the threat after Jared Walsh lined out to first baseman Franchy Cordero.
”I obviously think we’re playing hard. We’re not winning games right now,” Maddon said. ”But I’m not going to denigrate the effort by the guys.”
The Red Sox used Alex Verdugo’s speed to score in the second. Verdugo singled leading off the inning and was attempting to steal second with two outs when Vazquez singled toward the gap in left-center. Trout cut off the ball but Verdugo scored anyway ahead of the throw home.
Wacha threw a pair of 96 mph fastballs while striking out Ohtani in the sixth inning and a 94 mph fastball while striking out Jo Adell to end the eighth.
”Anytime (Ohtani) steps in the box, you’re on full awareness out there on the mound and you have to make really, really quality pitches to him,” Wacha said.
He completed the outing by getting Ohtani on a grounder to second base before greeting Vazquez near the first-base line.
”That was fun. It was awesome tonight,” Vazquez said. ”A complete-game shutout is very special for everybody. That helps the team and the bullpen guys a lot more. We started the right way this series.”
Wacha tossed just the 10th complete game in the majors this season, fifth that was a shutout. Boston has three complete games, most for the Red Sox since throwing five in 2017. Nathan Eovaldi and Nick Pivetta pitched one apiece this season.
It was Boston’s first complete-game shutout since Chris Sale’s three-hitter at Kansas City on June 5, 2019. Wacha’s 105 pitches were his most since throwing 113 for the Cardinals against Colorado on Aug 25, 2019.
Red Sox: Sale remains on schedule to throw a bullpen Tuesday in Florida before facing hitters in batting practice Friday. . LHP James Paxton played catch after throwing from 120 feet over the weekend and is in line to throw off a mound by next week, according to Cora.
Angels: 3B Anthony Rendon (wrist), eligible to come off the injured list, fielded grounders before batting practice but there is no timetable for his return.
Red Sox: RHP Garrett Whitlock (2-1, 3.02 ERA), who had a career-best nine strikeouts against the Angels on May 4, will start Tuesday in Anaheim.
Angels: Had not yet announced a starter for Tuesday.
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