BOSTON (Reuters) - The Boston Red Sox stretched their unbeaten streak against the Los Angeles Angels to nine games with a 7-5 win on Wednesday that kept them in the hunt for top spot in the American League East division.
With the help of a wild pitch and a hit batsman, the Red Sox scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning and held firm to remain 5.5 games behind division leaders Tampa Bay and New York.
Adrian Beltre went 2-for-5 with three RBIs, including a two-run homer in the fifth inning that pulled Boston to within one run of the Angels.
The Red Sox took the lead in the seventh when Los Angeles pitcher Kevin Jepsen threw a bases-loaded wild pitch and then, after an intentional walk, hit pinch-hitter Daniel Nava with the bases loaded to bring in the game-winning run.
"He bounced a curve ball and yanked a fastball inside," Angels manager Mike Scioscia told local media of Jepsen's errant pitches. "He was trying to elevate. He had the right idea, but just didn't execute."
Red Sox starter John Lackey, who spent the previous eight seasons with the Angels, allowed five runs in seven innings and won for the third time this year against his former team.
Closer Jonathan Papelbon struck out the side in the ninth to earn his 30th save of the year.
The Angels took early control over the home team, getting a home run from Mike Napoli in the third and a three-run blast from Alberto Callaspo in the fifth where Los Angeles went ahead by three runs.
Angels starter Scott Kazmir pitched five innings and allowed four runs before his bullpen let him down.
Victor Martinez recorded an RBI single in the eighth and finished 3-for-5 for the Red Sox (69-52), while Nava added a diving catch with two men on in the eighth to seal the win.
"That ball gets by him, they probably take the lead," said Boston outfielder Bill Hall. "That's a play you've got to take a chance on. That's what he did."
After sweeping Boston in last year's American League divisional series, Los Angeles has been unable to solve their AL opponents.
The Angels (60-61) have lost three straight and are eight games behind the first-placed Texas Rangers in the AL West.
(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Ian Ransom)