Angels stymie Red Sox again for 2-0 lead
Jered Weaver followed in John Lackey's day-old footsteps throughout the night, all the way to his final triumphant walk off the Angel Stadium mound. He even waved his cap at the standing, cheering crowd with nearly the same sweep of his arm.
With Weaver picking up right where Lackey left off for the Los Angeles Angels, not even Josh Beckett could keep the Boston Red Sox off the brink of playoff elimination.
Weaver yielded two hits while dominating Boston into the eighth inning, and Maicer Izturis drove home the tiebreaking run in Los Angeles' 4-1 victory over the Red Sox on Friday night, extending the Angels' first-round lead to 2-0.
downlevel descriptionThis video requires the Adobe Flash Player. Download a free version of the player.
Erick Aybar followed Izturis' RBI single with a two-run triple during the Angels' two-out rally in the seventh to break up a stellar pitching duel between Weaver and Beckett, Boston's ace and most reliable playoff pitcher.
"These two guys were matching each other pitch for pitch," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I thought we did a really good job of staying focused, settling down. ... The only way we're going to beat good pitching is to pitch with them, and we were able to do that the first couple of nights."
Weaver was comprehensively better than Beckett in just his second career postseason start. He allowed just four Boston baserunners and struck out seven while matching Lackey's 7 1-3 innings in Los Angeles' streak-snapping shutout victory in Game 1.
"It's always nice going up against a lineup like that," Weaver said. "You know that if you make any mistakes, they're going to hurt you. ... Hopefully these two (wins) will carry us into Boston with some positive momentum."
Game 3 is early Sunday at Fenway Park, with Boston's Clay Buchholz facing Angels newcomer Scott Kazmir, who pitched two strong playoff games against the Red Sox for Tampa Bay last fall.
The Red Sox eliminated the Angels in three of the past five postseasons, winning nine of 10 games, but Boston has mustered just one run and eight hits in this series. After twice outpitching Boston's best starters and coming through with timely late-inning hits, Los Angeles is one win away from its first AL championship series since 2005.