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Angels aim to pad lead in Boston

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Angels try to increase their lead atop the American League West standings on Wednesday night with a third straight victory as they resume a four-game set with the Boston Red Sox.

The Angels have won six of their last seven games, putting them a half-game ahead of the Oakland Athletics in the division standings.

Los Angeles dropped two of three at home to Boston from Aug. 8-9, but have opened this series with victories of 4-2 and 4-3. Last night's one-run victory saw Chris Iannetta snap a tie game with an RBI double in the ninth inning.

Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols also drove in a run apiece for the Angels, while Joe Smith tossed a scoreless eighth inning to get the win and Huston Street left two on in the ninth while picking up his 10th save.

"The bullpen has been pitching a lot and they've really stepped up," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "Joe and Huston finished that game off and they really stuck it to them."

David Ortiz homered, with Brock Holt and Mike Napoli adding an RBI each as the Red Sox stumbled to their third straight defeat and fourth in five games.

Koji Uehara took the loss after being charged with the deciding run, yielding a two-out ground-rule double to Brennan Boesch before Iannetta's go-ahead hit.

"There is some positives to take away from this game," said Boston manager John Farrell. "We got some good innings from the pitchers and we were able to create some opportunities offensively."

Farrell has seen some positives out of Clay Buchholz as of late and hopes the right-hander can keep trending in the right direction in tonight's start.

Buchholz went 0-2 and allowed 18 earned runs over 16 innings in three starts between July 23-Aug. 3, but has pitched much better over his last two outings, both no-decisions.

That began versus the Angels on Aug. 9 as Buchholz logged eight innings and gave up three runs while striking out eight. The 30-year-old then followed up with seven innings of two-run ball on Aug. 15 versus Houston, fanning nine.

Buchholz is just 5-7 on the year with a 5.79 earned run average and 6-3 lifetime versus the Angels with a 4.48 ERA.

Garrett Richards goes for Los Angeles tonight and is 2-0 with a 1.19 ERA over his last three.

The right-hander is coming off a 5-4 win at Texas on Friday, charged with two runs over 7 1/3 innings while logging seven strikeouts.

"I threw a lot more curveballs than I have in the previous starts. I had a good feel for it today," said Richards, who moved to 13-4 with a 2.53 ERA on the year.

The 26-year-old got a no-decision against Buchholz and the Red Sox on Aug. 9, allowing three runs -- one earned -- over 6 1/3 frames. It was Richards' first start against Boston following four relief appearances.

08/20 09:52:25 ET