ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Six measly base runners and no runs.
That’s how Boston opened the postseason, with an offensive flameout in a 5-0 loss Thursday night to the Los Angeles Angels, the team the Red Sox have dominated in October for the better part of a quarter-century.
After finishing third in the majors with 872 runs during the regular season, the Red Sox were no-shows at the plate. They were shut out in the postseason for the first time since losing 4-0 at Cleveland in Game 2 of the 1995 division series.
Facing Angels ace John Lackey, the Red Sox managed to scrape together four singles, a catcher’s interference and a walk.
That’s it. And none of them made it as far as third base.
A half-inning after Los Angeles’ Torii Hunter launched a three-run homer off the rock fountain beyond the center-field wall, the Red Sox had a chance to cut into the lead when they put two runners on ahead of Kevin Youkilis with two outs in the sixth.
Youkilis took three straight balls before Lackey worked the count full. Youkilis hit a chopper to third and Chone Figgins was right there to field it and touch the bag for the force to end the threat.
Lackey retired the first eight Red Sox batters before Alex Gonzalez singled to center and Jacoby Ellsbury reached on catcher’s interference with two outs in the third. The threat ended quietly when Dustin Pedroia flied to right.
If the lack of offense wasn’t bad enough, the Red Sox committed three errors.
The Angels hope this is the year they can finally break through against the Red Sox. Boston has beaten Los Angeles three times in the division series in the last five seasons. The Red Sox won in four games last year after sweeping the Angels in 2004 and 2007 en route to winning the World Series.
The clubs first met in the 1986 AL championship series — “before a lot of our guys were born,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. After the Angels got within one strike of a series-clinching victory in Game 5, Dave Henderson hit his famous homer in the ninth inning as Boston erased the Angels’ three-run lead and went on to win 7-6 in 11 innings. The Red Sox won the next two games in Boston to reach the World Series.