for this game

Lowrie singles in game-winner as Red Sox advance to ALCS

Oct 7, 2008 - 6:47 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- October, meet Jed Lowrie. The rest of the Boston Red Sox you're already well acquainted with.

The rookie shortstop delivered a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Boston Red Sox advanced to the American League Championship Series with a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Monday. Boston clinched the first-round series, three games to one.

"(Sunday night), Scot Shields struck me out on three straight curveballs," Lowrie said. "So, in the back of my mind, I was thinking curveball. He left one up in the zone enough for me to find a hole."

The Red Sox have had their share of postseason drama over the last six years, and every year it seems new playoff heroes get indoctrinated. Last year, first-year players Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury came up with big hits as the Red Sox rallied from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS en route to a World Series title.

This year, it was Lowrie, the 24-year-old who only became a starter in mid-July - and even then, only because of an injury to veteran Julio Lugo. But he was officially baptized on Monday night.

With the game tied at 2-2 - Boston's two-run lead having evaporated in the eighth inning on Torii Hunter's game-tying two-run single - Jason Bay got jammed by Angels reliever Scot Shields, but muscled a bloop, ground-rule double down the right-field line.

"He's got a good curveball," Bay said. "He threw me a good fastball up and in. I got jammed. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. It snuck out for a double."

After Mark Kotsay's line drive was snagged by a diving Mark Teixeira, Lowrie came up and drove a hard roller just past the outstretched arms of second baseman Howie Kendrick to bring Bay around for the winning run.

"It was kind of fitting that Jed drove in Jason bay with that hit," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. "All year long we've had great contributions from the young guys. This was a team victory tonight, as always for us. That's one of the things the Red Sox stand for now."

It was the fourth hit in 11 at-bats for Lowrie this series.

"I was just standing by the doorway (as Lowrie and Lester were talking postgame at podium). I was looking and thinking, boy they're young," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "Not in a bad way. The organization, we've brought some kids up and they have done such a phenomenal job of competing. I think our organization should be proud."

Prior to the late heroics, the Angels had seemingly turned the momentum in their favor. After getting shut down by starter Jon Lester for the first seven innings, they staged an eighth-inning rally against the Boston bullpen. Teixeira and Vladimir Guerrero drew walks and advanced into scoring position on a passed ball. One batter later, Torii Hunter drove a flare single into right field, plating both runs to tie the game.

An inning later, the Red Sox narrowly avoided even more trouble. Kendry Morales led off with a double off the "Green Monster" and pinch runner Reggie Willits advanced to third on Kendrick's sacrifice bunt. But then strategy caught up with the Angels.

With one out and a runner on third, they attempted a squeeze play with soft-hitting Erick Aybar at the plate. But Aybar missed his bunt attempt and Willits was caught in a rundown, eventually being tagged out by Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek to end the threat.

"Erick's a terrific bunter. He feels obviously badly he didn't get the ball down," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It was a great count for it. Delcarmen throws hard, which is a challenge, but I think it was a buntable ball. Erick just didn't get it done and that happens."

Shields (0-1), who also gave up two pivotal ninth-inning runs in Game One of the series, gave up two hits and one run while striking out three in 1 2/3 innings to get saddled with the loss. Boston righthander Manny Delcarmen (1-0) pitched two-thirds of an inning without allowing a baserunner to earn the victory.

The Red Sox nearly wasted a dominant outing from Lester, who tossed seven scoreless innings and looked to be in prime position to pick up his second win of the four-game series. The third-year lefthander has seemingly inherited the role of Boston's playoff stopper, a role filled by ace righthander Josh Beckett a season ago.

Lester shut down in the Angels in the series opener, allowing only an unearned run over seven innings, but outdid himself this time. He held the Angels to four innocent singles and two walks in seven frames but took the no-decision.

"I thought Jon Lester was tremendous," Francona said. "He was strong with his pitches. He was poised. He attacked the strike zone. That ballclub we just played is some kind of ballclub. We had our hands full. And Jon Lester, we needed to have a strong starting performance and he gave us all of that."

"(Varitek) did a great job," Lester said. "He kind of guided me through the whole deal. I was just able to execute pitches and make pitches when we had to."

Lester is developing a prime postseason pedigree at a rapid pace. The 24-year-old was also the team's Game Four starter in the World Series last year as Boston finished off a sweep of the Colorado Rockies.

Ellsbury got the Red Sox on the board on Monday in the fifth inning - albeit with a bit of help from Kendrick. The infielder's tough series continued, as he misplayed Ellsbury's chopper up the middle - a play that could have been an inning-ending double play - and got just one runner instead, allowing Kotsay to score the game's first run.

Dustin Pedroia followed moments later with his first hit of the series, an RBI double deep off the wall in left to make it 2-0.

Angels starter John Lackey went seven strong, giving up just two runs and seven hits while striking out one and walking one.

"It hurts," Hunter said. "(Our) team is good. We have a good ballclub, just things didn't work out for us and it's tough and frustrating. All we can do is talk about next year. This is over with. I guess I'm going to be watching it, again."

The Red Sox now move on to their fourth ALCS in the last six seasons. They will take on the AL East champion Tampa Bay Rays, who ousted the Chicago White Sox in four games. The series will begin on Friday at Tropicana Field.

"They groom them the right way here," Kotsay said. "They bring them into the system and teach them how to win. That's important ... There are only a few teams that really, truly have the confidence that this team has. Those teams seem to rise to the top."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    LA ANGELS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 6 1
    BOSTON 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 3 9 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: LAA - JOHN LACKEY, SCOT SHIELDS (8TH) AND MIKE NAPOLI
    BOS - JON LESTER, HIDEKI OKAJIMA (8TH), JUSTIN
    MASTERSON (8TH), MANNY DELCARMEN (9TH) AND JASON VARITEK

    HOME

    Oct 6 11:29 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JED LOWRIE SCORED JASON BAY.
    FINAL SCORE: BOSTON 3, LA ANGELS 2

    Angels 2, Red Sox 3  Bot 9, 0 OutsOct 6 11:29 PM
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    AT BOSTON PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY TORII HUNTER SCORED MARK TEIXEIRA AND VLADIMIR
    GUERRERO.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, T HUNTER ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA ANGELS 2
    BOSTON 2 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR LA ANGELS: M NAPOLI (.273, 0-FOR-2, BB)

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    AT BOSTON PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY DUSTIN PEDROIA SCORED JASON VARITEK.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, D PEDROIA ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA ANGELS 0
    BOSTON 2 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: D ORTIZ (.267, 1-FOR-2)

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    AT BOSTON PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY JACOBY ELLSBURY SCORED MARK KOTSAY.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J VARITEK ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA ANGELS 0
    BOSTON 1 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: D PEDROIA (.000, 0-FOR-2)

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