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Closing Time: Red Sox offense silenced by Jered Weaver, Angels in shutout loss

07.07.13 at 11:05 pm ET
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The West Coast roadtrip that will end the first half has not gotten off to the start that the Red Sox envisioned. After the team romped to a victory on Friday night against the Angels, the team suffered a stunning 9-7 extra-innings loss against the Halos on Saturday night and then remained dormant en route to a 3-0 shutout loss to Los Angeles on Sunday.

Ultimately, the Sox offense simply proved powerless on Sunday against Jered Weaver and the Angels bullpen. The Sox squandered a tremendous opportunity in the first, failing to capitalize with runners on the corners and none out when a Dustin Pedroia lineout to third preceded strikeouts by both David Ortiz and Mike Napoli. From that point forward, the Sox advanced just three runners as far as second base. Weaver finished the night with 6 2/3 shutout innings, and he was backed by strong work from Dane De La Rosa (one out in the seventh), Scott Downs (1-2-3 eighth) and closer Ernesto Frieri (scoreless ninth).

The Sox were shut out for just the fifth time in 2013 and the first time since June 14 (ending a stretch of 21 straight games without getting blanked). It was the Sox’ first series loss since they dropped three of four to Detroit two weeks earlier, but continued a recent pattern of road struggles. After getting off to a 20-12 start on the road this year, the team is now 3-8 in its last three road series. All the same, the team owns a 4 1/2 game lead in the AL East as it continues the West Coast swing with a four-game set in Seattle starting on Monday.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– While the Sox had few opportunities with runners in scoring position, they proved incapable of doing much with them. They went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Mike Carp endured an 0-for-4 day in which all four of his plate appearances ended in strikeouts. Carp has now struck out 42 times in his 134 plate appearances, a 31 percent strikeout rate.

Jose Iglesias went 0-for-3, with his average dipping to .395 — the first time all year that it’s been below .400.

Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-4, snapping a streak of 12 straight games in which he’d reached base. He hit .447/.509/.638 during the run.

Junichi Tazawa once again proved vulnerable to hard contact, giving up a leadoff triple to Erick Aybar in the eighth. (Aybar would score on a sac fly.) In his last six appearances, Tazawa has given up six hits (two homers, two triples) in 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs in the stretch.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

John Lackey once again showed dominating stuff. Though he was taken deep a couple of times — a solo shot by Mike Trout in the first and another by Hank Conger in the fifth — Lackey once again produced eye-popping strikeout totals, walked virtually no one and got a ton of groundballs. In seven innings, Lackey allowed just the two runs while punching out nine, walking one and recording 10 groundball outs.

Lackey now has five straight starts in which he’s logged at least seven innings while permitting two or fewer runs. His run is tied for the third longest by any Red Sox starter since 2000, a run exceeded only by Clay Buchholz (earlier this year) and Pedro Martinez (2000). In that span, he has a 2.25 ERA with an outrageous 36-to-5 strikeout-to-walk rate in 36 innings.

Jacoby Ellsbury doubled to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. However, he also grounded into a double play to erase one of the Sox’ few opportunities with base runners and end the fifth inning. Ellsbury has already grounded into 10 double plays this year, the second highest total of his career (behind the 13 into which he grounded in 2009).

Brock Holt delivered his first hit as a member of the Red Sox, going 1-for-2 with a single and a walk while also delivering solid defense at third base.

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