ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – As the last of his first shutout in five years was secured, Michael Wacha pumped his fist and sought out catcher Christian Vázquez for a congratulatory hug.
Wacha threw a three-pointer and the Boston Red Sox beat Los Angeles 1-0 on Monday night to give the Angels their 12th straight loss.
“Wins like this, yes, Michael was the star, he was great for us,” said Boston manager Alex Cora. “But it was a total team effort. A 1-0 game, nine innings, you don’t see that anymore these days. I’m just happy to be part of it.”
Vázquez scored in the second RBI singles as the Red Sox won their fifth straight.
The Angels achieved their longest slide in a single season, most recently at the end of the 1988 schedule.
Star from Los Angeles Mike Trout had a first-inning single from Wacha to end a 0-for-26 drought, the longest unsuccessful run of his career.
Wacha, who hadn’t worked in the eighth inning since 2018, threw 105 pitches for his second full career game in 190 starts and the first since a three-hit shutout for St. Louis with the New York Mets on July 18, 2017.
It was the first full game shutout by a Boston pitcher in three years. The experienced right-hander lost Noah Syndergardwho went six strong innings for Los Angeles and lowered his ERA to 1.99 in his debut season with the Red Sox.
“You have to have faith in this game to make it,” said Wacha. “I feel like with what my pitches are doing right now and how it’s playing against certain racquets, I feel like if we can come out early and get the strikeout whenever we need it, things like that can happen.”
The jewel came in Wacha’s fourth start since returning from a stint on the injury list due to pain in his left side.
“My last start, things went the way I’m used to and just continued to build on those previous starts after leaving the IL,” Wacha said. “I was happier with that. Now continue to build on this and take some stuff from here and work on it.
Trout caught his slump the first time, but the Los Angeles offense did little else in the opener to a seven-game homestand.
“He’s arguably one of the best players, top three and maybe the best at the end of time,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said of Trout. “And today at 12:30 he was doing (batting practice) against guys that we had to bring in to throw him. That says something about the motivation.”
Wacha (4-1) gave up a walk and had six strikeouts in his second scoreless game against the Angels of the season. The former Cardinals standout played 5 2/3 innings of shutout at home against Los Angeles on May 3.
Syndergaard (4-4) gave up five hits with a walk and three strikeouts. The former New York Mets star also faced Wacha on May 3, giving up three eight-hit runs over seven innings while suffering the loss.
The Angels appeared to be in business in the first inning, getting back-to-back one-out singles from Shhei Ohtani and trout. But then Ohtani was doubled down from second base to end the threat after Jared Walsh was lined up for first baseman Franchise Cordero.
“Of course I think we’re going to play hard. We’re not winning games right now,” Maddon said. “But I’m not going to disparage the guys’ efforts.”
The Red Sox used Alex Verdugo‘s speed to score in the second. Verdugo singled the lead from the inning and attempted to steal second with two outs when Vázquez singled towards the left-center gap. Trout clipped the ball, but Verdugo still scored before the home throw.
Wacha threw a pair of 96 mph fastballs while hitting Ohtani in the sixth inning and a 94 mph fastball while knocking out Yeah Adell to finish the eighth.
“Every time (Ohtani) steps in the box, you’re out there on the mound fully conscious and you have to give him really, really quality pitches,” Wacha said.
He ended the outing by taking Ohtani to second base on a grounder before greeting Vázquez near the first base line.
“It was fun. It was great tonight,” said Vázquez. “A full game shutout is very special for everyone. It helps the team and the bullpen guys a lot more. We started this series off right.”
Wacha only threw his 10th full game in the majors this season, the fifth being a shutout. Boston has three full games, the most for the Red Sox since they pitched five in 2017. Nathan Eovaldi and Nick Pivetta pitched one each this season.
It was Boston’s first full shutout since Chris Sale‘s three-hitter in Kansas City on June 5, 2019. Wacha’s 105 pitches were his most since he threw 113 for the Cardinals against Colorado on August 25, 2019.
Red Sox: Sale stays on schedule to throw a bullpen Tuesday in Florida before hitting hitters in batting practice Friday. …LHP James Paxton played tag over the weekend after throwing from 120ft and is expected to throw a mound by next week, according to Cora.
Angel: 3B Anthony Rendon (Wrist), eligible to be taken off the injured list, used Grounder 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, starts Tuesday in Anaheim.
Angels: Hadn’t announced a starter for Tuesday.
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