BOSTON -- Despite a 4-for-4 night by David Ortiz that included his 30th home run, the Boston Red Sox lost their fourth in a row Wednesday night. But that was a trifle compared to the loss endured by the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park.
The Angels lost their best pitcher, right-hander Garrett Richards, who was carted away on a stretcher in the second inning with what the club called a patella injury in his left knee. The club offered no further details pending a more complete examination.
The Angels, who had taken sole possession of first place in the American League West for the first time since May 15, 2011, beat the Red Sox 8-3 on Wednesday night to open a 1½-game lead over the Oakland Athletics. They will go for a series sweep Thursday night behind 11-game winner Matt Shoemaker; the Sox will counter with Rubby De La Rosa.
Richards, who was 13-4 with a 2.53 ERA entering the game, was injured while sprinting to first base to cover the bag on an attempted double play. Brock Holt had hit a ground ball that first baseman Albert Pujols ranged to his right to field, then threw to shortstop Erick Aybar. Richards headed to first to take the return throw but fell to the ground, clutching his left knee.
Angels rally: The Sox had scored single runs in the first and second innings off Richards and took a 3-1 lead into the fifth, as David Ortiz led off the third with his 30th home run off the season, hitting Cory Rasmus' first pitch of the inning off the back wall of the visitors' bullpen. Rasmus had entered the game with two outs in the second inning in place of Richards.
But the Angels rallied in the fifth inning against Clay Buchholz for five runs on four singles, two walks (one with the bases loaded) and a sacrifice fly.
Buchholz meter: Buchholz was charged with six earned runs in six innings, in which he allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out five. His ERA is 5.94, highest among all pitchers who qualify for the ERA title. Edwin Jackson of the Cubs, who began the night with a 5.74 ERA, is second.
Papi power: Ortiz led off the third inning Wednesday night at Fenway Park with a first-pitch home run, marking the eighth time in his career that he has hit 30 or more home runs in a season.
All eight of Ortiz's 30-homer seasons have come in a Red Sox uniform, tying him with Hall of Famer Ted Williams for most all-time by a Boston player.
Ortiz hit exactly 30 home runs in 137 games last season. At his current pace, he would finish with 39 home runs, the most he has hit in a season since he hit a club-record 54 home runs in 2006.
The home run was the 461st of his career. His next home run will tie him with Jose Canseco for 34th place on the all-time list.
Ortiz had gone through a stretch of 13 games with just one home run, but now has hit four in his last five games, including two against the Houston Astros on Saturday night. He also homered Tuesday night against the Angels.
Ortiz is batting .444 (16 for 36) in his last nine games. Alex Hassan pinch-hit for him in the ninth.
RISP more like RIP: The Sox were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. They are 2-for-32 in the first three games of this series against the Angels.
Roster updates: First baseman Mike Napoli sat out Wednesday's game with back spasms. Catcher David Ross singled in a run in his first game off the DL (plantar fasciitis). Catcher Daniel Butler was optioned to Pawtucket to make room for Ross. Pitcher Steven Wright was optioned to Pawtucket. Hassan was recalled from Pawtucket. Allen Craig played five innings in right field and had a two-run single in the second game of his rehab assignment in Pawtucket.