Paul Byrd combined with two stomach-churning relievers to shut out the Red Sox 3-0 on Thursday night, avoiding a sweep. Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia and hitting coach Mickey Hatcher were ejected -- Scioscia for the second straight night.
"I think we feed off that," said Byrd, who allowed four hits in seven innings before Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez each pitched out of bases-loaded jams. "These games count. That (emotion) is the way it should be."
Los Angeles, which moves on to play the Central-leading Chicago White Sox, opened a one-game lead over idle Oakland in the AL West after losing the first two games of the series.
Despite getting shut out for the fourth time this year, the Red Sox maintained a four-game lead in the AL East over the second-place Yankees, who lost to Tampa Bay 7-4. The Red Sox open a three-game series in New York on Friday with the knowledge that they will still be in first when they leave.
"In the past, we always knew we had to make up ground," center fielder Johnny Damon said. "Now we need to extend our ground. Hopefully, that starts tomorrow night."
Scioscia and Hatcher were ejected after Orlando Cabrera was called out for leaving second base too early on a fly ball. Replays indicated his foot was still on the base when right fielder Trot Nixon caught the ball.
Scioscia was ejected on Wednesday night disputing a checked swing call on David Ortiz.
"We could have fallen apart and felt like everyone was against us, but we didn't do that," Byrd said. "We could have had the attitude that we're snakebit, but we didn't."
Byrd (11-9) allowed two walks and struck out four in his second consecutive win. He retired 13 straight batters before John Olerud's slow-bouncing infield single to lead off the seventh.
Matt Clement (13-4) allowed three runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking two and hitting a batter while striking out one. He had won three straight decisions, but also received no decision in five other starts since July 16.
Byrd was coasting until Kevin Millar led off the eighth with a double and Bill Mueller walked. With pinch-hitter Manny Ramirez coming up, the Angels went to Shields, who gave up a game-ending homer to Ortiz on Tuesday.
Shields got Ramirez on a called third strike and then, after loading the bases by walking Damon, got Edgar Renteria and Ortiz looking, too.
Rodriguez struck out three for his 35th save, but he also loaded the bases. He fanned Roberto Petagine on three pitches for the final out.
"A three-run lead in the Grand Canyon with that club is not a safe lead," Scioscia said. "But our guys, when they had to, made terrific pitches."
Clement started with three perfect innings before Chone Figgins and Cabrera hit back-to-back doubles to start the fourth and make it 1-0. Garret Anderson hit a fly ball that Nixon caught against the wall in foul territory, and Cabrera tagged up to take third.
But the runner was called out when the Red Sox appealed that he had left second too early. Scioscia argued briefly but retreated to the dugout; during the break, Hatcher was ejected by third base umpire Eric Cooper and became enraged.
Scioscia went onto the field and argued for a while before plate umpire Marvin Hudson threw him out, too.
"These are big games," said Hatcher, who had to be held back by outfielder Steve Finley and others. "You can't just sit back on a call like that. It's crucial."
- Angels RHP Bartolo Colon is still on track to start on Saturday against the Chicago White Sox. Colon left Sunday's start in the sixth inning with tightness in his lower back.
- Guererro joined with Ortiz to pledge $50,000 each to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
- Ramirez was not in the starting lineup to rest for the series against the Yankees. Ramirez is 4-for-27 in his last seven games and has not homered since Aug. 21.
- It's the latest in the season the Red Sox have led the AL East since they won the division in 1995.
- Boston has won nine of its last 10 home series.
- The Red Sox have four of the 22 AL pitchers with 12 or more wins.
- Byrd lost four and had three no-decisions in seven starts before winning his last two starts.