BOSTON — C.J. Wilson and four relievers combined on a nine-hitter, and the Los Angeles Angels took over sole possession of first place for the first time since Opening Day 2013 with a 4-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Monday night.
Technically, the Angels, who own seven wins in their past nine games at Fenway Park, led the idle Oakland Athletics by a percentage point coming into the game. They now hold a half-game lead, their first actual game advantage since winning last year’s opener.
The Angels visit Oakland this weekend, then host the A’s the following weekend.
Center fielder Mike Trout and designated hitter Albert Pujols stroked back-to-back RBI hits off hard-luck loser Brandon Workman in the third inning, and Red Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa was guilty of a double error with the bases loaded in the eighth, good for two more runs.
Wilson (10-8) tight-roped his way through 5 1/3 innings to get his second consecutive win after going five games without a victory. The left-hander gave up five hits and walked a season-high five before leaving.
Right-hander Mike Morin pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth. Right-hander Fernando Salas allowed a single and then struck out three straight in the seventh. Right-hander Jason Grilli pitched a perfect eighth, and righty Kevin Jepsen tossed the ninth.
With closer Huston Street resting after pitching three straight and four of the last five days, Jepsen earned his first save — the fourth of his seven-year career — even though he gave up a run in the ninth.
Workman (1-7) dropped his seventh straight decision, six of them in starts, but he deserved better. He gave up just six hits and two runs in seven innings.
All-purpose player Brock Holt, playing right field, singled home the first Boston run in the fourth, one of his two hits. The Red Sox stranded 12 and went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
Boston designated hitter David Ortiz had two hits and two walks, but he struck out with two on and no outs in the ninth inning.
Workman, who came on in relief in the 19th inning Aug. 9 and served up a leadoff homer to Pujols, got the first two outs in the third inning Monday before walking right fielder Kole Calhoun. Trout, who snapped an 0-for-18 slump Sunday, then drilled his long double on a 3-2 pitch to score Calhoun. Pujols followed with a single over third to deliver Trout.
The Red Sox received a pair of walks to start the second inning, but, with runners at first and third and two outs, first baseman Efren Navarro made a diving stab of catcher Christian Vazquez’s line drive to end the threat.
Boston wasted another chance in the third.
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia singled to end a seven-pitch at-bat. Ortiz then fouled the second pitch over near the Angels dugout. With the shift on against Ortiz, Wilson made a desperate run for the ball, and it hit off his glove as he slipped down the dugout steps. The at-bat grew into a 10-pitch walk, but Wilson escaped that jam, too.
With two outs in the fourth, Boston center fielder Mookie Betts, just recalled from Triple-A, walked and took third on a Vazquez single. Holt then extended his career-high hitting streak to 12 games with a soft RBI single to center before Pedroia sent Trout to the warning track in center to end the inning.
Notes: Angels LF Josh Hamilton, who asked for a day off Sunday amid a 5-for-38 (18 strikeouts) slump, did not play again Monday, with manager Mike Scioscia making the call. “We want to give him another day to reset,” said Scioscia, who added Hamilton will have a long early batting practice session with hitting coach Don Baylor today and then play tonight.
... The Red Sox sent CF Jackie Bradley Jr. and his struggling bat to Triple-A Pawtucket and recalled OF/INF Mookie Betts, who started in center field Monday night. Bradley’s .290 slugging percentage was the lowest in the majors, his .216 average the lowest among American League center fielders.
... Angels RHP Jered Weaver and Boston RHP Allen Webster hook up for the second time in under two weeks in Game 2 of the series tonight. Webster won the first meeting Aug. 8 in Anaheim.
... The Red Sox are expected to activate C David Ross from the disabled list today, while OF Allen Craig began a four-game rehab with Pawtucket on Monday. Both are out with foot injuries.