Angels eliminate Red Sox with ninth-inning rally
Vladimir Guerrero and the Los Angeles Angels shrugged off their postseason failures and swept the Boston Red Sox out of the playoffs.
Guerrero hit a two-out, two-run single off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning and the Angels rallied past Boston 7-6 in Game 3 Sunday, advancing to the AL championship series with their first postseason sweep in franchise history.
The Red Sox intentionally walked Torii Hunter with runners on second and third to bring up Guerrero, a star who had long been waiting for a big October hit. And he came through against Papelbon, who had never before allowed a run in the postseason.
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"That's the biggest hit he's had," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think the way we did it, in a sweep, in Game 3 with two out in the ninth, gives us momentum."
The Angels open their first ALCS since 2005 on Friday against either the New York Yankees or Minnesota. The Yankees led that series 2-0 going into Game 3 Sunday night.
Los Angeles trailed 5-1 early, was behind 5-2 after seven innings and still down 6-4 when Papelbon retired the first two batters of the ninth. Erick Aybar singled on a two-strike pitch, Chone Figgins walked and Bobby Abreu singled in one run - the first postseason run Papelbon had allowed in 27 innings.
After Hunter was walked intentionally, Guerrero, who had one RBI in his previous 19 postseason games, singled sharply to center on the first pitch as Figgins and Abreu raced home.
Major league saves leader Brian Fuentes pitched a perfect ninth for Los Angeles. Dustin Pedroia popped it up to Aybar for the final out, with the shortstop pumping his right arm even as he tracked the ball with his left.
The AL West champion Angels came streaming out of the dugout. Jered Weaver joined his teammates on-field waving the jersey of Nick Adenhart, who was killed in an April car crash with a man who has been charged with drunken driving.