BOSTON (AP) -The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels came into their four-game set in need of a boost after both were swept in their previous series.
The Red Sox succeeded, impressively, and sent the Angels back West with a seven-game losing streak.
Victor Martinez homered and drove in four runs and Boston completed the sweep of Los Angeles with an 11-6 win Thursday night.
``They came in swept by Detroit and we came in swept by Baltimore,' Martinez said. ``One or the other was going to have the losing streak alive and, hopefully, it's not us. But we just stepped up and played good baseball and we got good results.'
The Angels were swept in a four-game series at Fenway Park for the first time since 1967. They are 0-7 on a road trip that ends with three games in Seattle, and have lost seven in a row for the first time since the final seven games of the 2001 season.
Martinez's two-run homer in the third cut the Angels lead to 4-2 and his two-run double in the fifth tied it. The Red Sox added three more runs in the fifth, going ahead on Jeremy Hermida's two-run single and making it 7-4 on Darnell McDonald's RBI double.
Boston improved to 15-14, the first time its been over .500 since its opening night win over the New York Yankees.
``Everybody knows it won't be the whole season like that. There's no way,' Martinez said.
``Those guys are taking this streak hard and that's part of the problem,' said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who held a team meeting after the game. ``We have to turn the page. We are carrying ghosts from this week. I thought that was always the strength of this group, but guys are starting to press because of something that happened three days ago.'
The last time the teams met at Fenway Park, the Angels completed a three-game sweep of the Red Sox in last year's AL division series with a 7-6 win on Oct. 11.
``I don't think that we were looking to sweep' this week, Martinez said. ``I think that's putting too much pressure on ourselves.'
Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-1) retired 13 of the last 16 batters he faced after allowing four runs in the first. Scott Kazmir (2-2) gave up seven runs in 4 1-3 innings after coming off his best start of the season.
``I felt like I was pressing a little bit instead of just letting it go,' Kazmir said with a distraught look. ``We need to go out and just have fun. We have everything it takes to win.'
Matsuzaka made his second start since beginning the season on the disabled list with a neck strain, and the Angels capitalized on his wildness to score four in the first.
He walked the first two batters, Erick Aybar, who stole second, and Bobby Abreu. Torii Hunter's single made it 1-0. After a double steal by Abreu and Hunter, Hideki Matsui walked, loading the bases. Juan Rivera drove in one run on a forceout at second and Howie Kendrick drove in two with a double.
But Matsuzaka allowed just two hits in the next four innings while the Red Sox scored seven runs. He threw 39 pitches in the first inning and 38 in the next three combined.
``Once he did get in a rhythm,' manager Terry Francona said, ``he pitched a lot better.'
Martinez, a switch-hitter batting right-handed, hit his second homer of the year, a shot into Boston's bullpen in right-center field.
Boston went ahead to stay with five runs in the fifth. Marco Scutaro singled, Dustin Pedroia doubled and Martinez drove in both with his tying double. Boston then loaded the bases on walks to Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew.
Brian Stokes relieved Kazmir and was touched for run-scoring hits on his first two pitches - to Hermida and McDonald.
``The way we started the game was awesome,' Abreu said. ``They started to score runs and we laid down.'
Mike Napoli's two-run homer, his first of the season, cut the lead to 7-6 in the sixth, but the Red Sox added four runs in the bottom of the inning. They scored on a bases-loaded walk to Drew, a single by Adrian Beltre, an error by second baseman Kendrick on Hermida's grounder and a force at second on a grounder by McDonald.
Notes: The Red Sox last three series have been sweeps. They went 3-0 in Toronto and 0-3 in Baltimore before beating Los Angeles. ... Matsui went 0 for 3 and is in a 3-for-31 slump with eight strikeouts. ... Boston's starting pitchers are 6-1 in the last nine games. ... Abreu reached safely on all five plate appearances with a single, double and three walks.
The Associated Press News Service
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