"There's some pain there," Vlad added. "Bad luck."
"We were trying to go down and away to get a strike," Napoli said. "But he elevated it a little bit. You pretty much know it's gone when you hear that [sound off the bat]."Scioscia said he saw some positive signs in his offense, apart from the 2-for-12 it managed with runners in scoring position. "I think one thing about our club, when we get into our game, we can turn it around quickly," Scioscia said, thinking ahead to a resurgence in Anaheim, where the Angels had the best home record in the Majors (54-27). A gallant effort by Kelvim Escobar and solid work by Scot Shields and Speier from the sixth through the eighth innings kept the Angels in Game 2. The offense, frustrated by Boston's bullpen behind starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, had been unable to push across runs in a succession of opportunities after a three-run second inning had given Escobar a one-run lead. "They have a good lineup, and you definitely don't want to pitch to those two guys [Ortiz and Ramirez] with a game on the line," Escobar said. "I felt great tonight, and the team made a great effort. I left my heart out there, did my best to keep the team in the game. "They've got a great team, but it's not over. We are going home, and we still have a chance to win this series." The Red Sox went to their closer, Jonathan Papelbon, with two outs in the eighth inning. An error by third baseman Mike Lowell, a walk by pinch-hitter Juan Rivera and three steals -- two by Howard Kendrick and one by pinch-runner Reggie Willits -- had runners in scoring position with two outs. But Papelbon caught Chone Figgins looking at a third strike to end the threat. "I didn't think it was a strike," Figgins said, "but I didn't get the call. What can you say? That's baseball." With Guerrero in right field, making his first start there since an inflamed right triceps limited him to DH duty on Sept. 6, the Angels had Kendry Morales in the DH spot, and it paid dividends in the three-run third. The Angels uncharacteristically played Moneyball in the early going against Matsuzaka. They didn't score in the first, but they worked counts and got two runners aboard on Orlando Cabrera's walk and Garret Anderson's single before Maicer Izturis took a 3-2 curveball for strike three on Dice-K's 31st delivery. The Red Sox, who play this style of game from March into October, ran Escobar's pitch count to 30 in the bottom of the first, taking a 2-0 lead on J.D. Drew's two-out single to center. Youkilis walked, advancing on Ortiz's single and Lowell's walk. Drew cashed them in with his timely single. "I felt so good," Escobar said, "I was overthrowing a little. But after I got through that first inning, I felt great." In the second, Casey Kotchman fell behind 0-2 before coaxing a leadoff walk that set a three-run second inning in motion.
Be a part of the ALDS Mailbag
|Who's going to win this series? Who's the best player? Why'd the manager make that move? If game stories and features aren't enough for you and you want more, e-mail MLB.com's Mychael Urban at firstname.lastname@example.org. After the game, before it, even while the action is going on. Send in your question (make sure the subject line contains ALDS Mailbag), and Urban will answer selected queries in a mailbag right here on MLB.com.|
Kotchman took third when Morales' grounder got past second baseman Pedroia. After Kendrick struck out, plate discipline again paid off, this time by catcher Jeff Mathis.When Mathis didn't bite on a 2-2 cutter, the count was full when he bounced to Lowell at third. This meant Morales was running, and all Lowell could do was get the out at first, Kotchman scoring. One pitch after the crowd cheered in celebration of the Indians' win over the hated Yankees, Figgins quieted the Fenway partisans when he sent a fastball toward the left-field corner, his double, misplayed by Ramirez, bringing home Morales. Figgins strolled home when Cabrera launched a one-hopper off the Green Monster in left-center. When they sent Matsuzaka to the showers with two outs in the fifth, it was only the second time in his debut season he didn't make it through the fifth inning. Southpaw Javier Lopez got Morales to ground into a force to leave runners at the corners, Izturis having singled in front of another Kotchman walk that ended Dice-K's night. Pedroia's leadoff double past third put Escobar, clinging to his one-run lead, in trouble in the fifth. An intentional walk to Ortiz and a full-count walk to Ramirez loaded the bases with one out. Lowell sent a sacrifice fly to center for the tying run, and Escobar won a 10-pitch duel with Drew by inducing a grounder to Kotchman at first. Escobar had needed 101 pitches to get through his five innings, turning this into a confrontation of bullpens. Boston's four-man relief corps held the Angels hitless for 4 1/3 scoreless innings, and that was the difference when Ramirez ended it with one breathtaking swing.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less