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Archive for Saturday, October 4, 2008

Drew’s blast gives Red Sox 2-0 edge

Two-run homer in ninth inning propels Boston past Los Angeles, 7-5

October 4, 2008

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— Boston's latest postseason victory over the Los Angeles Angels moved the team with baseball's best record to the verge of elimination.

J.D. Drew stunned Francisco Rodriguez with a two-run homer in the ninth inning, and the defending World Series champions beat the Angels, 7-5, on Friday night for a 2-0 lead in their first-round AL playoff series.

Boston, one victory from advancing to the AL championship series, won its 11th consecutive postseason game against the Angels, setting the record for most postseason wins in a row over one opponent. The Red Sox won their ninth consecutive postseason game.

Game 3 will be Sunday night in Boston, with Joe Saunders pitching for the Angels against Josh Beckett, who was pushed back from the opener after injuring a muscle in his side.

Drew's RBI double and Jason Bay's three-run homer off Ervin Santana gave Boston a 4-0 lead in the first inning, but the Angels, 100-62 during the regular season, clawed back and tied the score in the eighth when Chone Figgins hit a leadoff triple off Justin Masterson - the Angels' first extra-base hit of the series after 19 singles - and Mark Teixeira hit a one-out sacrifice fly against Jonathan Papelbon (1-0).

Rodriguez (1-0), who set a record with 62 saves in the regular season, got the last out in the eighth. He allowed a leadoff double to David Ortiz that bounced out of the glove of Reggie Willits, who tried for a leaping catch at the wall.

After Kevin Youkilis grounded out, Drew pounced on a changeup and sent it deep over the wall in center.

The Red Sox went 56-25 at Fenway Park this season - the second-best home record in the majors behind Tampa Bay's 57-24. The Angels' 50-31 road record was the best in baseball.

Tampa Bay, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia also have 2-0 first-round leads.

Of the 35 teams to fall behind 2-0 in the division series before this year, just five have come back to advance, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Only one - the 2001 New York Yankees - came back to win after losing the first two at home.

Papelbon retired all six batters he faced, getting help from Youkilis in the ninth. The third baseman caught pinch-hitter Gary Matthews Jr.'s foul popup with a terrific leaping grab over the camera well for the second out. Papelbon then struck out Howie Kendrick to end the game, and the closer leaped off the mound after his final pitch.

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