BOSTON – Hideki Matsui hit a three-run homer, then drove in another run with a bases-loaded walk, and Ervin Santana took a two-hitter into the eighth inning on Thursday night to help the Los Angeles Angels snap a nine-game losing streak against Boston and beat the Red Sox 7-2.
Santana (13-8) allowed two runs and four hits in seven-plus innings, walking four, hitting a batter and striking out three. Kevin Jepsen, who blew Wednesday night's game by giving up runs on a wild pitch and hit batsman, pitched out of Santana's bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the eighth.
The Angels, who had lost three straight to fall below .500, held a 20-minute players-only meeting before the game.
Josh Beckett (3-3) took a two-hit shutout into the sixth inning before giving up four straight hits with one out, leading to four Los Angeles runs. The Angels also loaded the bases in the seventh, scoring three more runs without a ball leaving the infield.
In all, Beckett allowed six runs, seven hits and two walks, striking out six. He has given up 19 runs in his last three outings.
Most of Thursday's damage coming after he got the first out in the sixth. Maicier Izturis and Alberto Callaspo doubled, then Torii Hunter hit a hard grounder down the third base line that went off of Adrian Beltre's glove for a single. Matsui hit the next pitch into the Red Sox bullpen to give the Angels a 4-1 lead.
Boston put runners on first and third in the bottom half thanks, but Santana got Beltre to pop up harmlessly to left to end the inning.
Beckett struck out Jeff Mathis to start the seventh, but Peter Bourjos reached on a bunt single and Bobby Abreu walked. Manny Delcarmen relieved Beckett but walked Izturis to load the bases and, after a run-scoring groundout, walked two more batters to make it 6-1.
After Scott Atchison came in, Kendrick reached on a grounder to short that gave the Angels a 7-1 lead.
The Red Sox loaded the bases with nobody out in the eighth before Jepsen limited them to just one run, on Beltre's sacrifice fly.
David Ortiz homered for Boston.
NOTES: Red Sox RF J.D. Drew made a diving catch to end the top of the third. ... Angels manager Mike Scioscia on the team meeting: "Torii Hunter called it. I think at times it's very, very good. I think there's a lot of different things that can come out of a players-only meeting. We have to realize that there's a lot of baseball left. I think we have some powerful voices in this clubhouse. I think that's part of the message that was delivered." ... In honor of a Jimmy Fund telethon to raise money for cancer research, Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester. Both are cancer survivors.