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David Ortiz was scheduled to get the night off, although he told Boston manager John Farrell that he was available.
"We'd be crazy not to use David, given his production and capability," Farrell said.
So Ortiz came in to pinch-hit for Brandon Snyder with the Red Sox clinging to a one-run lead in the eighth inning. Big Papi responded with a two-run homer to help Boston beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-2 in the series opener on Friday night.
"I don't like pinch-hitting," he said. "I don't think I'm that good."
Ortiz visited the batting cage between innings to keep himself loose.
"Stop being surprised when this guy hits home runs," teammate Jonny Gomes said. "It's hard to pinch-hit, but it's hard to DH, too. He's got that mindset."
Shane Victorino scored the go-ahead run in the seventh on a dropped fly ball by Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton, giving the AL East-leading Red Sox their fifth straight victory and ninth in 10 games after losing all three games at Angel Stadium last season.
They improved to a season-high 20 games over .500 for the first time since Sept. 23, 2011.
"In the dugout there's a lot of positive energy," Farrell said. "Somewhere we'll find a way to put something together. It seems like every night there's someone different."
Victorino singled leading off the seventh against C.J. Wilson (8-6). Wilson retired the next two batters before Gomes hit a towering fly toward the right field line that should have ended the inning.
Hamilton ran a long way and stuck out his glove, but the ball bounced off it, allowing Victorino to score from first base.
"It's just unfortunate that the ball unraveled on that one," Wilson said about Hamilton's error. "But it's a big adjustment to move from center to right on a permanent basis, and I think he's still in the adjustment phase with that. But he's doing the best he can.
"Sometimes he's made plays where he's a little bit hesitant, just because the lights are in a different place and all that stuff."
Wilson was replaced by Dane De La Rosa, who ended the inning by picking off Gomes.
Felix Doubront (5-3) allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings, struck out five and walked two. The left-hander retired 10 in a row after giving up a game-tying homer to Howie Kendrick leading off the fourth.
"He had good stuff and was on the plate with his fastball and a very good changeup," Farrell said. "He has weapons to keep guys off-stride."
Doubront has been on a roll in his last nine starts, giving up three earned runs or fewer since May 16 with a 2.87 ERA in that stretch.
"Just want to keep that pace and help the team win," he said. "My arm feels good now. All my pitches are pretty good."
Ortiz slugged his 17th homer of the season to right field on an 0-1 pitch from De La Rosa, scoring Daniel Nava who led off with a double.
"I'm sure after De La Rosa got ahead with a changeup he was probably looking to tease him," Farrell said. "It's a luxury having that guy available."
Former Angel Mike Napoli homered with two outs in the ninth inning, making it 6-2.
Wilson allowed three runs - one earned - and 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings, struck out five and walked two, but was let down by the Angels' defensive miscues.
"It's frustrating," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "You look at games where we've supported our pitching on the defensive end, but when you're not making plays, it adds up. Not only are you giving up runs, but you're making your whole staff throw more pitches and we've paid the price for that."
Wilson gave up three consecutive two-out singles to load the bases in the sixth before fielding a soft broken-bat liner from Jacoby Ellsbury to end the inning. Wilson flipped the ball into the stands as he jogged back to the dugout.
"I struggled a little bit getting ahead in the count, and when I did get two strikes on those guys, I didn't put them away. That's why they got so many hits," he said. "They were out there just trying to put the ball in play, and they hit a lot of balls through the middle of the field, which is a pretty good plan. But they're hot."
The Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the second on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's RBI single and a fielding error by left fielder J.B. Shuck.
The Angels, who had won eight of nine, scored their first run on Albert Pujols' double-play groundout in the third.
Pujols and Hamilton each went 1 for 4, and Mike Trout was 1 for 3 with a walk for the Angels.
This program aired on July 6, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.
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