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Anaheim at Boston

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L.A. Angels (86-59)0010114018171
Boston (86-58) «0000050229131

Red Sox bounce Halos with two-out, bases-loaded single in ninth

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- Los Angeles Angels closer Brian Fuentes thinks he's figured out why the Red Sox have been so successful at home.

COMMENTARY
Late-season struggles won't shake Angels' confidence
by Danny Knobler
What's Your Take?
Tell Danny your opinion!
 

After two questionable calls kept the Red Sox alive with two outs in the ninth, Alex Gonzalez hit a game-winning blooper down the left-field line to give Boston a 9-8 victory over the Angels on Wednesday night - the seventh consecutive win for the Red Sox and their 10th in a row at Fenway Park.

That left Fuentes wondering aloud whether the umpires were too "timid" or "scared" to go against the sellout crowds at Fenway.

"Especially here and some other places, they seem timid to make calls," he said after twice failing to get a third strike called on pinch-hitter Nick Green, who wound up drawing a bases-loaded walk to score the tying run. "I've heard it from other guys that come in here and say that. That's either because it's a mistake, or they're scared."

 Angels: Guerrero hit by pitch, leaves with bruised ribs

Fuentes (1-5) came into game looking for his major league-leading 42nd save and got two quick outs before walking David Ortiz and giving up infield singles to J.D. Drew and Jed Lowrie. Green quickly fell behind 0-2 and offered at the third pitch but stayed in the box when first base umpire Jeff Kellogg ruled that he did not go around.

Green then fouled off three pitches before taking three balls to walk in the tying run. The last was a knee-high fastball that had catcher Mike Napoli jumping out of his crouch in anticipation of Strike 3.

"What was the count at the end, 3-4 to Green?" Angels manager Mike Scioscia said sarcastically. "I thought we had him a couple of times. I was surprised. It's a good umpiring crew and I think we really feel strongly they missed a couple times we had Green struck out. Unfortunately, that's the focal point of the game and it didn't go our way."

Boston trailed 3-0 and 7-5 before tying the game in the bottom of the eighth. The Angels took the lead in the top of the ninth on three straight two-out singles against Daniel Bard (2-1).

  Playoff Race

But Fuentes gave it back -- and more -- in the bottom half.

Gonzalez, who hit a two-run, bases-loaded bloop to right to give Boston the lead in a five-run sixth inning, looped one down the left-field line that fell in front of Juan Rivera when he decided not to dive for it. That set off a familiar celebration in Fenway. where the Red Sox have sold out 542 consecutive games.

"Gonzie hit it just well enough where it found some outfield grass," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "Greenie's at-bat was great. He was behind on the first couple of fastballs. You could see him getting closer and closer as he was fouling some. That's a heck of an at-bat.

"I was holding my breath the last two at-bats, just hoping for a break or hoping for something good to happen, and we got it," Francona added.

Despite losing four of their last five, the Angels maintained a six-game lead over Texas in the AL West; the Rangers fell 6½ games behind Boston in the wild-card race. If the standings hold, the Red Sox and Angels will meet again in the first round this year.

The Angels have lost 12 of their last 13 playoff games against the Red Sox dating to 1986 and are 0-4 all-time in postseason series against the Red Sox.

Erick Aybar had four hits for the Angels and Rivera had three, including a two-run double in a four-run seventh inning -- aided by a dropped third strike -- that gave Los Angeles a 7-5 lead. Bobby Abreu's third hit was an RBI single to break a ninth-inning tie and give the Angels an 8-7 lead.

"If you come back against them -- being down, going ahead, being down, coming back again, being down again and coming back -- it's a phenomenal game," Red Sox starter Paul Byrd said. "I was in the clubhouse screaming with ice on my arm. I can't believe what a great game that was."

Notes

  • Francona said C Victor Martinez will be back in the lineup on Thursday, but 1B Kevin Youkilis might have to take another day or two. RHP Tim Wakefield is getting better and could pitch on Monday for the third time since the All-Star break.
  • Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable.
  • Guerrero was hit by a pitch in the ribcage in the seventh and was pinch hit for in the eighth. The Angels said it was a bruise and no X-rays were taken.
  • Angels starter Joe Saunders had won four straight, allowing two earned runs or fewer in each of his last four starts.
  • Making his fourth start since signing a minor league deal in August, Byrd went 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits and a walk, striking out four. He also gave up three long outs in the first two innings and a 415-foot double to Abreu in the fifth.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Alex Gonzalez (left) starts a wild celebration thanks to his game-winning bloop single with two outs in the ninth.  (AP)
Alex Gonzalez (left) starts a wild celebration thanks to his game-winning bloop single with two outs in the ninth. (AP)

Players of the Game
Boston

J. Bay
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Anaheim

E. Aybar
AB 6
R 1
H 4
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Los Angeles Angels
Chone Figgins, 3B6120025 .300
Erick Aybar, SS6141004 .308
Bobby Abreu, RF5032101 .302
Vladimir Guerrero, DH3100014 .294
   a- Robb Quinlan, PH-DH0000000 .248
   b- Maicer Izturis, PH-DH2000004 .295
Torii Hunter, CF4121101 .313
Kendry Morales, 1B5100034 .304
Howie Kendrick, 2B5121014 .293
Juan Rivera, LF5232001 .291
Mike Napoli, C4011110 .268
Totals45817838  
a-announced for Guerrero in the 8th
b-popped out for Quinlan in the 8th
Batting
2B - Bobby Abreu (27, Byrd), Torii Hunter (23, Byrd), Howie Kendrick (18, Byrd), Juan Rivera (23, Ramirez), Mike Napoli (21, Ramirez)
HR - Torii Hunter (22, Byrd)
RBI - Erick Aybar (55), Bobby Abreu 2 (96), Torii Hunter (83), Howie Kendrick (53), Juan Rivera 2 (81), Mike Napoli (50)
2-OUT RBI - Erick Aybar (29), Bobby Abreu 2 (32), Howie Kendrick (21), Juan Rivera 2 (36), Mike Napoli (10)
SB - Bobby Abreu (29, 2nd base off Delcarmen/Varitek)
Team LOB - 14
Fielding
DP - Kendrick-Aybar-Morales, Kendrick-Aybar-Morales
E - Erick Aybar (10, Missed catch of throw)
Los Angeles Angels
Joe Saunders 5.2852350 4.75
Jason Bulger 0.1000010 3.41
Kevin Jepsen (H,15) 1.1122100 4.56
Darren Oliver (BS,1) 0.2100100 2.67
Brian Fuentes (BS,7; L,1-5) 0.2322200 4.41
WP - Darren Oliver (6)
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Saunders 106-58, Jason Bulger 5-3, Kevin Jepsen 22-10, Darren Oliver 22-14, Brian Fuentes 27-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Saunders 8-3, Kevin Jepsen 4-0, Darren Oliver 1-1
Batters Faced - Joe Saunders 27, Jason Bulger 1, Kevin Jepsen 6, Darren Oliver 4, Brian Fuentes 7
Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF4121113 .302
Dustin Pedroia, 2B5110004 .295
Jason Bay, LF5122000 .263
Mike Lowell, 3B5010010 .292
David Ortiz, DH3210212 .234
    Joey Gathright, PR-DH0100000 .235
Rocco Baldelli, RF3111012 .257
    Brian Anderson, RF0000000 .233
   a- J.D. Drew, PH-RF1110100 .268
Jason Varitek, C2000111 .213
   b- Josh Reddick, PH1100001 .211
    Dusty Brown, C0000000 .000
   c- Jed Lowrie, PH1010000 .158
Casey Kotchman, 1B4011013 .269
   d- Nick Green, PH0001100 .236
Alex Gonzalez, SS3023100 .235
Totals37913976  
a-walked for Anderson in the 8th
b-hit into fielder's choice for Varitek in the 8th
c-singled for Brown in the 9th
d-walked for Kotchman in the 9th
Batting
2B - Dustin Pedroia (44, Saunders), Casey Kotchman (22, Saunders)
SH - Alex Gonzalez (10)
RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury (50), Jason Bay 2 (104), Rocco Baldelli (23), Casey Kotchman (47), Nick Green (35), Alex Gonzalez 3 (40)
2-OUT RBI - Jacoby Ellsbury (25), Nick Green (18), Alex Gonzalez 3 (19)
SB - Jason Bay (13, 2nd base off Saunders/Napoli)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
PB - Jason Varitek (1)
E - Rocco Baldelli (3, Misplayed grounder)
Boston Red Sox
Paul Byrd 5.1933141 5.79
Takashi Saito 1010100 2.54
Ramon Ramirez (BS,4) 0.1330010 2.79
Hideki Okajima 0.1200010 3.47
Manny Delcarmen 1000120 3.42
Daniel Bard (W,2-1) 1311000 3.43
IBB - Hunter by Manny Delcarmen
HBP - Guerrero (by Takashi Saito)
Pitches-Strikes - Paul Byrd 97-62, Takashi Saito 25-14, Ramon Ramirez 18-12, Hideki Okajima 12-8, Manny Delcarmen 18-9, Daniel Bard 21-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Paul Byrd 3-9, Takashi Saito 1-2, Daniel Bard 3-0
Batters Faced - Paul Byrd 26, Takashi Saito 5, Ramon Ramirez 5, Hideki Okajima 3, Manny Delcarmen 4, Daniel Bard 6
Game Information
Attendance - 37706
Game Time - 4:07
Temperature - 58
Umpires - Home - Rick Reed, First Base - Jeff Kellogg, Second Base - Tim Timmons, Third Base - Mark Wegner