Shohei Ohtani was the one who put the Boston Red Sox away with a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning Sunday. But when closer Matt Barnes thinks about how the Angels pulled it out, he'll consider Mike Trout to be the one who got away.
Protecting a one-run lead with two outs and nobody on, Barnes appeared to make the right pitch to end the game. Trout jammed himself with a 96-mph fastball on the inner half of the plate, hitting a high pop-up to short right field. But the Red Sox outfield was playing so deep, and the second baseman was positioned so far away, that the ball dropped among three defenders (with one losing his glove comically).
Trout's single had an exit velocity of 75.9 mph and went only 225 feet, with an expected batting average of .110. Angels manager Joe Maddon said Trout hit it in the “perfect” spot.
"When it left his bat, I thought the game was over," Barnes told reporters.
No such luck, and it brought Ohtani to the plate.
After a throw over to first to keep Trout close, Barnes got beat on a 96.7 mph fastball, with Ohtani taking him around Fenway's Pesky Pole for a two-run home run and a 6-5 lead. Barnes had blown his first save in 10 opportunities in 2021.
The advanced stats didn't think much more of Ohtani's home run, even though it went 372 feet, than they did of Trout's duck snort. It had an expected batting average of .160 — probably because of its launch angle (36 degrees) and proximity to being foul.
Ohtani said he was "praying" for the ball to stay fair and it did, giving him 12 homers on the season and a share of the major league lead.
Mike Mayers got three outs in the ninth and the Angels' four-game losing streak was over.
Barnes tipped his cap to Ohtani.