ANAHEIM, Calif. — Alfredo Aceves kept his cellphone affixed to his ear while he dressed and left the Boston Red Sox clubhouse after blowing his fourth save in his last seven opportunities.
The closer who apparently had plenty to say to manager Bobby Valentine last week stayed silent about his latest flop.
Mike Trout and Torii Hunter drove in runs in the ninth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels rallied for a 6-5 victory over the Red Sox on Tuesday night.
The Angels appeared to be headed to their third straight loss until they jumped on Aceves (2-9) in his second inning of work following a three-game suspension for apparently arguing with Valentine, who had few options left in his overworked bullpen. He went with Aceves, who did fine for four outs — and then blew his eighth save.
“There wasn’t much choice,” Valentine said. “(Andrew) Bailey wasn’t pitching because he pitched in four out of five games. Nobody else was really pitching tonight. … I’m not saying that was his role tonight, for a save. He was the only guy available to pitch.”
Whatever his role, Aceves didn’t fill it very well — and that was only one reason the Red Sox dropped another game to the Angels.
Aceves returned to the team following an apparent blowup at Valentine when he was passed over for a save opportunity in favor of Bailey. Aceves had no problems in the eighth after relieving Clay Buchholz, who outpitched Angels ace Jered Weaver over the first seven innings.
Erick Aybar stole second after getting hit with a one-out pitch in the ninth, and pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo walked before Trout drove in the tying run with a broken-bat single. Hunter ended it with a long sacrifice fly to center, easily scoring Callaspo.
The Angels ran onto the field to celebrate their first home victory over Boston in eight games since July 2010, making a bit more progress in a season that’s in danger of slipping away without a whole bunch of wins in a hurry.
“As long as we get in there, that’s fine, but we still want to win the division no matter what,” Hunter said. “That’s still the priority. We’ve got 30 more games, so we’re just going out there every day and grinding. We didn’t give up tonight. They got a lead early, but we kept grinding and got it done.”
Kevin Jepsen (3-2) pitched the ninth for Los Angeles.
Buchholz tossed seven resilient innings of six-hit ball, retiring 16 of 17 early on in the opener of Boston’s nine-game West Coast road swing. Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered and drove in two runs, and James Loney drove in a run in his third straight game with Boston since arriving in last week’s megatrade with the Dodgers.
Boston had a 5-2 lead in the sixth, but couldn’t hold on.
“It’s tough. You never want to lose a game in the bottom of the ninth,” Buchholz said after Aceves’ loss erased what would have been his 12th win. “The pitch he made that tied the game was a pretty good pitch. You can’t ever second-guess him. He’s throwing the pitches he wants to throw.”
Trout hit his second career leadoff home run and Albert Pujols hit his 29th homer for the Angels, who kept pace with AL wild-card leaders Oakland and Baltimore. Howie Kendrick extended his hitting streak to 14 games with an RBI double in the sixth, and Los Angeles won its fourth straight over Boston after sweeping a series at Fenway Park last week.
Pujols singled in the first in his return to the lineup following a four-game absence to rest a sore right calf. Mark Trumbo had a sacrifice fly.
Saltalamacchia replied in the second with his 22nd homer, putting a hanging curve into the elevated stands above right field.
NOTES: Los Angeles put reliever Scott Downs on the family medical emergency list and recalled Kole Calhoun from Triple-A Salt Lake. … Boston put LHP Franklin Morales on the 15-day disabled list. … Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Kyla Ross threw out the first pitch. The 15-year-old Ross attends Aliso Niguel High School in Aliso Viejo, Calif., a short drive from Angel Stadium. She was part of the Fierce Five that won the U.S. team gold in London.