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Red Sox 5, Angels 4

The stage was set for Shohei Ohtani and he nearly delivered, but the Red Sox were up to the challenge

The Red Sox lead the AL East by 4.5 games.Ronald Martinez/Getty

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Expected batting average is a statistic that measures the velocity and angle of a batted ball and determines the likelihood it will be a base hit.

With two runners on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning on Monday night, Shohei Ohtani hit a ball off Adam Ottavino that had an expected batting average of .910.

More simply put: He crushed it.

But Red Sox second baseman Christian Arroyo was positioned in shallow right field and played the scorching line drive on one hop. He fired to first base and the Red Sox had a 5-4 victory.

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Instead of at least tying the game on his 27th birthday, Ohtani was 1 for 5 and the Red Sox have now won 10 of their last 11.

Ottavino was designated the closer after Matt Barnes needed 33 pitches to pitch the final inning at Oakland on Sunday. He walked leadoff hitter José Iglesias, then struck out the next two batters.

Jose Rojas singled to drive in Iglesias, who had stolen second and taken third base on defensive indifference. David Fletcher then singled to bring Ohtani up.

Ohtani has 52 extra-base hits and 67 RBIs this season. Many in the crowd of 38,201 — the largest of the season at Angel Stadium — raised their cell phones to record the moment.

Sox manager Alex Cora said it reminded him of how fans once hung on every swing Barry Bonds took.

“I was trying to avoid it ever getting to that point,” Ottavino said. “I had it in the back of my mind, ‘Don’t let Ohtani come up.’ Of course it happened.”

Ottavino would sometimes prefer the defense not shift because he feels it takes away certain pitches he would otherwise use.

“I kind of resist it a little bit because it keeps my options open,” Ottavino said. “But at the same time I pay attention to it.”

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Ottavino fell behind 3 and 1 and threw Ohtani a slider that stayed over the middle of the plate. The righthander said later he wanted to live and die with his best pitch.

Had Ohtani got under it a touch more, it might have been a walk-off homer.

“It was a good bet and it kind of worked out,” Ottavino said.

Ottavino’s seventh save made a winner of Martín Pérez (7-4), who pitched into the sixth inning and allowed one earned run.

Lefthander José Suarez, who was making his first start of the season for the Angels, put seven men on base in three innings but only two scored.

Arroyo, who was activated off the injured list earlier in the day, homered to left center with one out in the second inning. It was his fifth home run of the season; all have either tied the game or given the Sox a lead.

Rafael Devers had an RBI single later in the inning.

Rafael Devers homered again, driving a 3-and-0 pitch deep to right center for his 21st of the year.Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Dylan Bundy, demoted to the bullpen late last month after going 1-7 with a 6.78 earned run average in 14 starts, took over in the fourth inning for the Angels.

He got two outs before walking Kiké Hernández. Bundy then fell behind Devers 3 and 0. The next pitch was a sinker that caught too much of the bottom of the strike zone and Devers drove it into the bleachers in right center.

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It was his 21st home run and gave him a major league-leading 71 RBIs. It also was his first career home run on a 3-and-0 pitch and Devers paused for a second to watch it go.

Xander Bogaerts reached on an error to open the fifth inning. He advanced when Arroyo drew a two-out walk and scored on a single by Danny Santana.

Santana had entered the game in the third inning in place of left fielder Marwin Gonzalez. The Sox said it was for a tight right hamstring.

Pérez had plenty of defensive help. With a run in and a runner on second in the second inning, Luis Rengifo drove a changeup to the wall in left center. Hernández made a leaping catch to steal a home run away.

Martín Pérez got through 5⅓ innings, allowing just two runs - one earned - and striking out three.Ronald Martinez/Getty

In the fifth inning, again with a run in and a runner on second, Ohtani singled to center. Santana made a strong throw to the plate to get Rojas.

Umpire Alfonso Marquez initially called Rojas safe, but replays clearly showed Christian Vazquez applied the tag in time.

Phil Gosselin opened the sixth inning with a single and went to third when Max Stasi lined a pitch to the wall in right center. Hernández threw Stasi out at second.

It was the 28th outfield assist of the season for the Sox, 12 fewer than they had over 162 games in 2019.

Hirokazu Sawamura, very much the second most well-known Japanese player in the field, replaced Pérez and got two quick outs.

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Rojas homered off Sawamura in the seventh to draw the Angels within two runs at 5-3. Josh Taylor replaced Sawamura and retired all four batters he faced, three by strikeout.

He has 26 consecutive scoreless appearances, one shy of tying the team record set by Koji Uehara in 2013.


Peter Abraham can be reached at peter.abraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.