He had rightfully thought that he had struck out Justin Upton for the third out of the first inning. Instead, home plate umpire Mark Ripperger missed a curveball that should have been the third strike, and with Upton soon on first with a walk, things quickly snowballed when Albert Pujols launched a three-run homer to left.
Johnson came off the mound after the first half-inning, having already put his team in a 3-0 hole.
In the runway from the dugout to the clubhouse, special assistant Jason Varitek was waiting with a message.
"We're going to win this game -- just keep (the score) there,'' Varitek told Johnson.
Varitek isn't necessarily clairvoyant, though it might have seemed that way when the Red Sox scored a run of their own in the fist and then went onto to throttle the Los Angeles Angels 16-4, swatting five homers in the process. It marked the eighth time since the All-Star break that the Sox had scored nine or more runs in a game.
The former All-Star catcher may have unwittingly pointed out an unconventional path for the Sox to take back into playoff contention: