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A 12-run victory gave way to a 12-run onslaught in less than 24 hours, an all-too-typical shift in a season where the Red Sox haven’t been able to maintain anything close to the momentum they’d need to defend their title.

The Los Angeles Angels led just four batters in against Rick Porcello, Mike Trout finally hit his first career Fenway Park home run, and a ghastly seventh inning all added up to a 12-4 loss for the Red Sox on Saturday, ending their brief two-game winning streak.

Time is ticking yet again on this version of the Sox.

“We know where we’re at,” manager Alex Cora said prior to this loss, “and we have to gain ground.”

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The Sox had all the ground to work with heading into the sixth. They were down 3-1 and could feast on an Angels pitching staff that began the day ranked 25th in ERA (5.05). Making up two runs should be easy for this Sox offense.

Additionally, Porcello looked as if he was over his first-inning struggles, retiring 14 Angels in a row after allowing a three-run homer down the right-field line to Justin Upton.

“I was getting ahead of guys,” Porcello said. “Pitches were working and the action was fine.”

Until Trout happened in that sixth.

Kole Calhoun, who began the game with a single, lined a leadoff single to right. Next came Trout, who had homered at least four times in every American League ballpark except Fenway, where he’d had 89 at-bats and 103 plate appearances. Porcello tried to run a 90-m.p.h. two-seamer past the two-time MVP, and it ended up parked beyond the Green Monster for a 5-1 Angels lead.

“We have daily conversations,” Cora said of Porcello. “I know how hard he works. A few pitches that he didn’t execute today, they went out of the ballpark. There were some positive, but obviously in the end we need results as a team.”

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It was the end of Porcello’s day, which went from solid to horrid on that one pitch. He allowed just five hits, but all five resulted in runs. The homer to Upton wasn’t a mistake. It was a ball up and away that Upton had to reach out and get.

Nevertheless, when you’re going bad like Porcello, good hitting sometimes outweighs a pitcher’s execution, and the poorly located pitches — like the one to Trout — are a mighty blow. Getting away with a bad pitch and struggling don’t mix.

The line between success and failure has been thin.

“Some starts, that’s been the case,” Porcello explained. “Other starts, it’s been bad. I mixed in a couple of good ones in there, but for the most part it’s a combination of everything.”

It wasn’t a pretty sight for manager Alex Cora as he watches the last out in the ninth inning.
It wasn’t a pretty sight for manager Alex Cora as he watches the last out in the ninth inning. BARRY CHIN/GLOBE STAFF/Globe Staff

The Red Sox scored their first run of the game in the third inning on a single, two hit batsmen, and an Upton fielding error in left. Despite loading the bases with one out, they were held to making it 3-1 on a Sam Travis sacrifice fly.

They similarly responded after Porcello’s removal, Betts lining a two-out double to make it 5-2 in the sixth. But Xander Bogaerts grounded out with Jackie Bradley Jr. on third, and the Red Sox pitching blew up in the seventh.

Seven Los Angeles runs against Darwinzon Hernandez and Hector Velazquez put things out of reach at 12-2. The first six batters of the seventh reached base. Hernandez, who finished the sixth for Porcello without further damage, failed to record an out in the seventh and yielded four earned runs, equal to the total the rookie gave up in his prior 13 appearances. After 10 straight scoreless outings, he’s allowed five runs in his last two-plus innings.

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“He just didn’t put guys away that inning,” Cora said.

Reliever Hector Velazquez  was part of a  disastrous seven-run seventh inning that sealed the Red Sox’ fate.
Reliever Hector Velazquez was part of a disastrous seven-run seventh inning that sealed the Red Sox’ fate.BARRY CHIN/GLOBE STAFF/Globe Staff

Velazquez was charged with two earned runs from the seven batters he faced. Travis then spoiled the day even more, misplaying a ball in left field and plating two more runs.

The Sox scored the day’s final two runs in the bottom half of the frame, most notably a Travis solo shot.

Collectively, the Sox dug themselves a hole, but it ultimately goes back to Porcello. Just what would have transpired had he made it through the sixth inning unscathed? The mistake to Trout left the biggest imprint on Porcello’s outing.

“Honestly, the worst part about it was that it was the best hitter and that was the worst pitch I threw throughout the entire day,” Porcello said.

The Red Sox clubhouse was empty after this loss. Many players filed out long before reporters entered.

A win Sunday would still take the series and bode well for the club, but the Sox’ days are numbered. Series sweeps can’t be left on the table.

“It’s wins and losses,” said Porcello when asked if there were any moral victories at this point for him. “That’s what our ballclub needs is wins, and that’s what you get judged on.”

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Manager Alex Cora (left) and a trainer look after designated hitter J.D. Martinez after he was struck by a pitch during the third inning.
Manager Alex Cora (left) and a trainer look after designated hitter J.D. Martinez after he was struck by a pitch during the third inning. BARRY CHIN/GLOBE STAFF/Globe Staff

Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com