The Boston Red Sox snapped a four-game losing streak as Roger Clemens fired a 2-hitter against the California Angels with a 7-1 win before a crowd of 50,688 at Anaheim Stadium.
The Red Sox were in first place thanks in part to Clemens outstanding season. He started the game with a 16-2 record and a 2.59 ERA. On April 29 at Fenway Park, Clemens set a major league record by striking out 20 Seattle batters in a 9-inning game. The Angels, managed by Gene Mauch, were also in first. Lefthander John Candelaria got the call.
Boston scored three times in the third inning. Shortstop Rey Quinones walked and center fielder Kevin Romine doubled him to third. Second baseman Marty Barrett walked to load the bases. Third baseman Wade Boggs scored Quinones with a sacrifice fly. First baseman Bill Buckner doubled in Romine and Barrett.
The Red Sox broke it open in the fifth. Barrett led off with a single and Boggs followed with a walk. After Buckner flew out to center, Barrett moved to third. Mauch took Candelaria out at this point and brought in Vern Ruhle. But the Red Sox kept on hitting. Left fielder Jim Rice singled to left to score Barrett. Designated hitter Don Baylor hit into a force play and right fielder Dwight Evans drew a walk to load the bases. Then catcher Rich Gedman unloaded with a grand slam to put the Red Sox ahead 8-0.
The Angels didn't get a hit off of Clemens until the fifth when designated hitter Reggie Jackson led off with a double. Jackson would score the Angels only run eventually on a sacrifice fly from left fielder Brian Downing.
Clemens went the whole way, striking out seven. The only other hit the Angels got was another double, this one by catcher Jerry Narron in the seventh.
After the game Mauch spoke to Gene Wojciechowski of the Los Angeles Times, "Their guy's good, I hope we get another crack at him before it's over."
Mauch would get his wish. The Red Sox won the AL East by 5 1/2 games over the Yankees and the Angels won the West by 5 games over the Rangers. The Angels faced Clemens in Game 1 of the ALCS and routed him, 8-1. In Game 4, the Angels would win an 11-inning thriller, 4-3, after scoring three runs in the ninth. But in Game 7, Clemens would finally get his first postseason win with an 8-1 win that sent the Red Sox to the World Series. I was told that Game 5 was exciting too.
In his 23-year career, Clemens is 29-9 against the Angels in the regular season and is 14-4 in Anaheim.
Clemens won the Cy Young and MVP award in the AL in 1986. He went 24-4 and had a league best 2.48 ERA. He finished seven strikeouts behind Mark Langston for the league lead with 238. Boggs would lead the AL in batting average at .357.
The Red Sox would go on to NOT win the World Series in 1986.
Sources: Los Angeles Times, Retrosheet, Baseball-reference.com