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Angels can't leave it to Weaver

Angels can't leave it to Weaver

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BOSTON -- The Angels out-homered the Red Sox on Saturday night, but it didn't give them any satisfaction.

David Ortiz's fifth-inning grand slam against Jered Weaver accounted for more runs than Chone Figgins' two-run homer and Vladimir Guerrero's solo shot, and it completely changed the tone and tenor of a game that went to the Red Sox, 10-5, to the delight of a Fenway Park sellout numbering 36,652.

If they didn't know it already, the Angels discovered that no lead -- not even a five-run cushion -- is safe at cozy Fenway.

"They've got a powerful lineup and can get back in a game in a hurry," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "When you're facing good clubs, you have to keep going and pitch well to hold them. There aren't many times we're going to get a lead and not get to our guys at the back end [of the bullpen]. This was one of those games. I don't think it has any deep meaning."

Protecting a five-run lead, Weaver watched a good night begin to unravel on a shattered-bat single by Eric Hinske leading off the fifth. As the ball reached first baseman Casey Kotchman, Weaver was just beginning to figure out what had happened and Hinske was arriving at first base with nobody there.

"If I make that play when the bat comes at me," Weaver said, "it's a totally different game.

"I thought it was coming right at me. I felt I had to dodge it. I looked over, and Casey's got it and I couldn't get over there in time."

With one out and nobody on, everything is different, Weaver said. Maybe Coco Crisp doesn't double to the right-center gap. Maybe Alex Cora doesn't get hit by a pitch. Maybe Julio Lugo doesn't shoot a two-strike single up the middle for two runs. Maybe Kevin Youkilis doesn't slam a single to left, loading the bases for Ortiz.

And maybe Weaver doesn't put a fastball in a location that allows Big Papi to unload the bases with one swing.

But all of that did happen, and Weaver wasn't in a very good mood afterward.

"I lost the game for us," Weaver said. "Bases loaded with the meat of their lineup -- what are you going to do? You're stuck in a bad spot."

Weaver was perturbed, especially about the fastball he threw into Ortiz's wheelhouse, and "absolutely" perturbed with what Big Papi did in the way of celebrating: flipping his bat and throwing his arms over his head before the ball landed deep in the seats in right for his seventh career grand slam.

"I'll remember it next time we play them," Weaver said. "I'm not saying anything's going to happen, but it's definitely in the back of your mind."

A five-run Angels lead had become a one-run deficit, and two hitters later, after a J.D. Drew single, Weaver was pulled for Darren Oliver. Weaver vented his frustration in the dugout.

Frustration wasn't exclusive to Weaver in the Angels' clubhouse. Kotchman was 1-for-4, but he easily could have had his second consecutive four-hit game, his line drives after his second-inning double finding leather rather than turf. And Guerrero, with any luck, easily could have had two homers.

Kotchman laced one of the rockets that was run down in center by Crisp, who logged enough mileage to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

The most significant of Crisp's eight catches came with a runner aboard in the seventh and Mike Timlin protecting a one-run lead for Curt Schilling.

Guerrero's blast carried to the base of the 420 sign in the deepest part of the park in right-center, but Crisp got there.

"It's the only park in baseball where that's not a home run," Scioscia said. "Any other spot in this park, and the Angels are back in front.

"Grab the lead, and you can do things differently."

Oliver kept the Angels in the game with 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, and Justin Speier took the Angels out of a two-on, two-out jam in the seventh, keeping it to a one-run game. But the Red Sox busted it wide open with a four-run eighth. Manny Ramirez -- on the heels of four consecutive strikeouts -- doubled home the first two runs against Speier. Jason Varitek's single off Greg Jones and Jones' wild pitch plated one more run.

Known as small-ball practitioners, the Angels had used the long ball to forge their lead against Schilling, who was not in primetime form even though he advanced his record to 7-5, while Weaver was falling to 8-6.

Figgins' two-run blast in the third, reaching the seats just beyond the pole, made it 4-0, and Guerrero -- as only he can -- went down to lift a splitter over the Green Monster for a 5-0 run lead in the fifth.

Doubles by Orlando Cabrera and Kotchman set up the Angels' first two runs. Guerrero singled behind Cabrera in the first, and Garret Anderson's fielder's-choice grounder delivered Cabrera.

An expert piece of hitting by Reggie Willits with two outs got the Angels their second run. Reaching for a two-strike pitch about five inches off the ground, Willits stroked it through the middle, scoring Kotchman. A moment later, Figgins let Willits trot home.

Weaver had one disturbance before the fifth. Cora's single and Lugo's double had runners in scoring position with one out, but Youkilis flied out to shallow right and Ortiz skied to left.

Two innings later, Weaver was dodging a flying piece of wood, and everything was about to come apart.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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