BOSTON — Kevin Jepsen hadn’t earned a save in nearly two years. He certainly deserved this one, after a clutch strikeout of Boston bopper David Ortiz.
Mike Trout and Albert Pujols hit consecutive RBI doubles, and the Los Angeles Angels extended their AL West lead with a 4-2 victory over the Red Sox on Monday night.
With two runners on and none out in the ninth, Jepsen threw a well-executed changeup to Ortiz that moved off the plate, getting Big Papi to swing and miss wildly.
“I wanted to give him a pitch he thinks he can drive, but it fades out of the zone. In that situation, I’m going for the strikeout,” Jepsen said. “Watching him, I’ve seen him come up a ton of times in that situation and tie it up.”
Jepsen then got Yoenis Cespedes to bounce into a run-scoring fielder’s choice before Mike Napoli lined to center, closing out his first save since Sept. 16, 2012.
It was the fifth win in six games for the Angels, who moved a half-game ahead of idle Oakland.
“That’s a great pitch,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “It’s a tough situation. David can beat you at any part of this ballpark on a variety of pitches and you’ve got to make your pitches there.”
Ortiz reached base four times with a double, a single and two walks for the Red Sox, who have lost three of four after winning four straight.
Boston was 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 overall.
Angels starter C.J. Wilson (10-8) labored through 5 1-3 innings, giving up one run and five hits with five walks and five strikeouts.
Brandon Workman (1-7) lost his sixth straight start, giving up two runs and six hits in seven innings. He was skipped for a couple of turns to rest his arm.
“My velocity was better,” Workman said. “I had a chance to work on some things mechanically. I felt good tonight. I felt like I got into a nice rhythm early and was able to carry that through.”
The Angles broke ahead 2-0 on two-out doubles by Trout and Pujols in the third after Kole Calhoun walked.
Brock Holt extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an RBI single, cutting it to 2-1 in the fourth.
Los Angeles added two runs in the eighth when reliever Junichi Tazawa bobbled a grounder and made a wild throw with the bases loaded. He was charged with two errors on the play.
“Unfortunately, what looked like a potential inning-ending double play turned into a couple of runs for them,” Boston manager John Farrell said.
• Angels: Manager Mike Scioscia said INF Grant Green, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained lower back, is “close to playing in games.” He’ll likely need a few rehab starts before returning.
• Red Sox: Pedroia was back in the lineup after missing Sunday’s game because he was sick. OF-1B Allen Craig (sprained left foot) started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket. C David Ross (plantar fasciitis) is expected to be activated Tuesday.
RHP Jered Weaver (13-7, 3.66 ERA) goes for the Angels in the second game of the series Tuesday. He took the loss against Boston on Aug. 8, giving up four runs in six innings.
RHP Allen Webster (3-1, 4.79) faces the Angels for the second time in three starts. He earned the win against Weaver recently, holding Los Angeles to two runs in 6 2-3 innings.
WASHINGTON — Adam LaRoche hit a game-winning solo home run with two outs in the 11th inning to help the Washington Nationals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 Monday night for their seventh straight win.
It was the third walk-off win in as many days for NL-East leading Washington.
LaRoche sent a 3-1 pitch from Will Harris (0-3) off the wall in the back of the Nationals bullpen and was mobbed by his teammates at home plate.
Winning pitcher Craig Stammen (3-4) pitched out of a bases-loaded, no outs jam in the top of the inning.
Arizona tied it 4-4 when David Peralta led off the ninth with a solo homer off Tyler Clippard.
Washington trailed 3-2 when Denard Span doubled with one-out in the eighth against Brad Ziegler and Anthony Rendon followed with a triple to tie it.
BRAVES 7, PIRATES 3
PITTSBURGH — Jason Heyward and Andrelton Simmons homered to begin a six-run first inning, and the Braves beat the sliding Pirates for their fourth consecutive victory.
The early outburst was enough for Ervin Santana, who allowed three solo homers among nine hits in 5 1-3 innings. Santana (13-6) improved to 8-1 over his past 10 starts.
Pittsburgh has lost six in a row. Starling Marte went deep twice, and Neil Walker added a homer that became the first to reach the Allegheny River beyond right field at PNC Park this season.
CUBS 4, METS 1
NEW YORK — Kyle Hendricks and two relievers held New York to four or fewer hits for the fifth straight game, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez hit long homers, and the Cubs rallied for a victory over the Mets.
Hendricks (5-1) gave up just three hits in seven innings, allowing only Lucas Duda’s home run in the fourth. The rookie right-hander won his fourth straight start — yielding four earned runs over 29 1-3 innings.
Neil Ramirez struck out two in a perfect eighth and Hector Rondon allowed a leadoff double but finished the four-hitter for his 18th save.
The Cubs came back once Carlos Torres, making a spot start for Bartolo Colon, was done after five innings.
PHILADELPHIA — Jerome Williams took a three-hitter into the eighth inning, Andres Blanco hit his first homer in three years, and the Phillies beat the Mariners in an interleague game.
Making his second start since joining the Phillies, Williams (1-0) allowed one run and three hits in seven-plus innings.
Mariners rookie lefty Roenis Elias (9-10) gave up one run and three hits in four innings. He constantly pitched out of jams because he walked six and hit one batter with a pitch.
Blanco connected for a three-run shot off reliever Dominic Leone in the fifth to give the Phillies a 4-0 lead. It was his first home run since July 1, 2011, for Texas against Florida.