BOSTON – Hunter Renfroe hit a three-run, first-inning homer and Los Angeles held off the Boston Red Sox 5-4 on Monday in the annual Patriots’ Day game that had Angels’ two-way star Shohei Ohtani’s pitching start shortened by a long rain delay.
Renfroe drove in four runs, helping the Angels avoid a four-game series sweep.
Ohtani gave up a run in two hitless innings, walking the leadoff hitter and throwing two wild pitches before Rob Refsnyder’s run-scoring ground out.
He’s given up only two runs in 21 innings over four starts this season.
"I felt like I could go back out there but we just didn’t know exactly how long the delay was going to be,” he said through a translator. “It was a really early game, that was probably the hardest part.”
Renfroe, who hit 31 homers with the Red Sox in 2021, hit a 95.6 mph sinker from Brayan Bello (0-1) into the last row of the Green Monster seats during a four-run first. Brandon Drury added a sacrifice fly in the inning.
Rafael Devers’ RBI single off Carlos Estévez sliced the score to 5-4 in the ninth. But Estévez struck out Refsnyder and got Masataka Yoshida to pop out with two runners on for the final out and his second save.
Unlike most years when the Boston Marathon's lead runners go through nearby Kenmore Square while the game’s going on, men’s defending champion Evans Chebet crossed the finish line about 25 minutes before the first pitch.
Heavy rain fell briefly before Ohtani took the mound in the second inning, but the grounds crew spread rapid dry around the infield causing a brief delay.
The second “official” delay came in the top of the third after the start was pushed back 56 minutes by rain, and that was it on the mound for the Angels’ star.
“As much I know he keeps himself ready to pitch, once we got past that 35, 40-minute mark I wasn’t going to send him back out,” Los Angeles manager Phil Nevin said.
Asked if his next start could get moved, Nevin said: “We're going to talk about it.”
Ohtani struck out three, throwing 31 pitches, 20 strikes, but went 2 for 5 at the plate with two singles.
Tucker Davidson (1-1) worked 3 1/3 innings for the victory.
“We had a really good start going on and Tucker came in after the rain delay and did a really good job,” Renfroe said.
Zach Neto, the Angels' 22-year-old shortstop who was promoted from Double-A on Saturday, singled to left for his first major-league hit after starting his career 0 for 9.
Ohtani struck out former World Baseball Classic teammate Yoshida swinging with a 98.4 mph fastball in their only matchup in the first inning.
Bello allowed five runs and eight hits in 2 2/3 innings.
"It seems like they were hunting hard down and they put some good at-bats,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora of the hitters' approach against Bello.
The Red Sox wore home white jerseys that read “Boston” in red letters across the front instead of “Red Sox.”
It’s the jersey they wore in their first game back in Fenway Park after the finish line bombings that killed three people and wounded hundreds more in the 2013 Boston Marathon.
After struggling and not getting his warmup jacket zippered until the third pitch following his first-inning single, Ohtani just handed it back to first base coach Damon Mashore after his second-inning single.
STILL NO ANSWER
When asked before the game about his team facing Ohtani, Cora said: “Hopefully, he’s not a morning person.”
The scheduled start was pushed from 11:10 to just after noon.
Angels: Catcher Logan O’Hoppe dropped his bat and grabbed his left shoulder following a swing in the first inning but stayed in after chatting with a trainer and singled to left. … Center fielder Mike Trout had the day off.
Red Sox: Cora said left-hander James Paxton (strained right hamstring) was expected to throw a bullpen session Monday.
Angels: Open a three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night. LHP José Suarez (0-1, 10.80 ERA) is set to face New York RHP Clarke Schmidt (0-0, 8.44).
Red Sox: Begin a three-game series Tuesday in Fenway against the Twins when Boston lefty Chris Sale (1-1, 11.25) is scheduled to go against RHP Sonny Gray (2-0, 0.53).