ANAHEIM, Calif. — Red Sox players did not linger long in the clubhouse after a 5-4 loss in 19 innings against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night. They needed sleep before playing a day game on Sunday.
Eighteen pitchers threw 558 pitches thrown in a game that lasted 6 hours and 31 minutes. It was the longest in Angel Stadium history and the longest in the majors this season — until the Blue Jays and Tigers went six minutes longer on Sunday.
Albert Pujols led off the bottom of the 19th inning with a home run to right-center off Brandon Workman and slid into the plate as his teammates celebrated.
The Red Sox were spent afterward, but many of the players and coaches stopped on their way out to shake hands with rookie righthander Heath Hembree or offer some words of encouragement.
The 25-year-old righthander pitched four shutout innings and threw 62 pitches in his Red Sox debut. But because he would not be available for a few days and the Red Sox needed bullpen reinforcements, Hembree was optioned to Triple A Pawtucket after the game and lefthander Edwin Escobar was called up.
“That’s not a fun message to give. You can make the claim he pitched some of the best baseball [Saturday] night. Unfortunately he’s got the options and we need the flexibility,” manager John Farrell said. “He understood it, not that he necessarily liked it.”
Said Hembree: “When they need me to come back, I’ll be ready.”
Hembree and Escobar were obtained from the Giants on July 26 for Jake Peavy.
Until Saturday, Hembree never had pitched more than 2⅓ innings in a professional game or thrown more than 35 pitches. He had not pitched four innings in a game since 2009 when he was a starter at Spartanburg Methodist Junior College in South Carolina.
“That was a crazy game tonight,” Hembree said. “Definitely the longest outing of my career. Honestly, I was getting a little tired. Trying to give everything I had. Just empty the tank.”
Hembree profiles as a late-inning reliever and his performance Saturday night improved his stock in the eyes of Farrell.
“That’s the one thing that stands out the most, the poise and the mound presence,” Farrell said.
“He couldn’t have pitched any better, to be honest, given the situation. It goes a long way.”
Escobar, 22, was 3-8 with a 5.11 ERA in 20 starts for Triple A Fresno before the trade. He since has started twice for Pawtucket and allowed two earned runs over 12 innings.
Escobar did not pitch Sunday and the Sox could make another roster change before Tuesday’s game at Cincinnati. He has yet to make his major league debut.
Vazquez hangs in
Rookie Christian Vazquez caught all of Saturday night’s game and claimed afterward that he felt fine.
“I’m young,” the 23-year-old said. “No problem.”
Vazquez saved the game several times, blocking a splitter from Junichi Tazawa in the 14th inning that bounced to the plate with a runner on third.
He also sprang from his crouch to snare a high pitch from Hembree with the bases loaded in the 17th.
“In the 17th inning when he’s blocking balls off his mask and seemingly off his neck, at that time of the game, six hours in, he did a fantastic job,” Farrell said.
Dan Butler caught Sunday’s 3-1 win over the Angels, as was scheduled several days ago. The Red Sox are off Monday and Vazquez expects to be ready to catch Tuesday night.
David Ross, who caught 18 innings for the Reds in 2008, marveled at how Vazquez was able to make so many athletic plays late in the game.
“He’s something special,” Ross said. “I’ve been saying that a while. He’ll feel it in his legs for a few days, but he’ll be OK.”
The Red Sox were 10 of 92 over the last two days, dropping their team batting average from .246 to .242 . . . David Ortiz, who was out of the lineup Sunday so Mike Napoli could DH, drove in two runs Saturday night. He now has 1,513 RBIs in his career, moving past Carlos Delgado for 51st place all-time . . . Koji Uehara picked up the save Sunday and extended his streak of scoreless innings to 11. His ERA has dropped to 1.32 . . . Jackie Bradley Jr. was 0 for 4 with four strikeouts. He is hitless in his last 35 at-bats with 18 strikeouts and is down to .211 on the season . . . Xander Bogaerts (0 for 4) is 3 of 35 since moving back to shortstop. He also had a throwing error . . . Dustin Pedroia (2 for 4) is 23 of his last 63, the hot streak improving his average to .282. He also had a terrific defensive play to end the seventh inning, diving to his right to take a hit away from Kole Calhoun.
Johnson was next
Had Saturday night’s game continued, utility infielder Kelly Johnson would have been Farrell’s choice to pitch. “Haven’t pitched since my senior year of high school,” said the 32-year-old Johnson. “That would have been interesting.” Johnson, who was obtained from the Yankees for Stephen Drew July 31, made his Red Sox debut Sunday, starting at first base. He went 0 for 4 and fanned twice. . . Joe Castiglione, who has called Red Sox games on the radio for 32 years, said it was the third 19-inning game he has worked. NESN’s Jerry Remy was 6 for 10 in a 20-inning game against Seattle on Sept. 3, 1981. That game was suspended in the top of the 20th and picked up the next day. The Sox lost, 8-7 . . . Congratulations to Red Sox manager of media relations Jon Shestakofsky and Steph Marcus, who were married over the weekend.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.