^By DAN GREENSPAN=
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ The Los Angeles Angels made their five hits count Sunday.
Luis Valbuena hit a tiebreaking solo home run in the seventh inning, Mike Trout and Andrelton Simmons also homered and the Angels beat the Boston Red Sox 3-2.
Valbuena hit his ninth shot of the season into short right field to leadoff the inning, rounding out a trio of solo leadoff homers for the Angels.
After failing to win any of their previous seven series, the Angels pulled back within two games of .500 by taking two of three against the Red Sox. The Angels’ last series win also came against Boston, taking two of three at Fenway Park last month.
But the underlying issue, getting the offense to consistently deliver and help out a superb defense and lights-out bullpen, is obvious to Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
“We need to get better on the offensive end if we’re going to make the push we want to make,” Scioscia said. “There is no reason to feel frustrated, there is no reason to feel optimistic. We know what we need to do.”
Trout answered Hanley Ramirez’s homer to left field in the top of the sixth that gave Boston a 2-1 lead by launching a massive shot to center. It was Trout’s third home run in five games and his fifth RBI of the eight-game homestand.
Parker Bridwell (4-1) gave up two runs on five hits in seven innings. Bud Norris earned his 15th save while only giving up a single to Ramirez to start the ninth. Xander Bogaerts hit into a double play to end the game.
Rick Porcello (4-13) allowed three runs in eight innings, his 18th consecutive start where he threw at least 6 innings. He struck out six and walked one.
Red Sox manager John Farrell was concerned with how Angel Stadium can play small on a hot day and those fears came to pass on three occasions.
“Still, we’re in a 3-2 ballgame with the go-ahead run at the plate and we don’t make it click,” Farrell said.
Bridwell retired the first 10 batters he faced and 14 of 15 Red Sox before Sandy Leon singled with two outs in the fifth. Simmons made a sliding backhand grab on Brock Holt’s ground ball to short but couldn’t get the throw off, putting two runners on. Deven Marrero’s line-drive single then fell in front of a diving Ben Revere in left and scored Leon to tie the game at 1.
“We’ve got to get back to what we showed here early in games the last two nights, which is the use of the whole field,” Farrell said.
After hitting the game-winner homer Saturday night, Simmons sent his 11th home run to left-center in the fourth to give the Angels a brief 1-0 lead.
Simmons cleanly fielded six straight balls between the second and fourth inning before his homer and started the double play in the ninth, again confirming his credentials as the team’s defensive centerpiece.
His surge in power, however, is what is getting noticed, even if it seems like a non-story to Simmons.
“I’m more surprised I didn’t hit more the last couple years,” Simmons said. “I know what I’m capable.”
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