BOSTON -- The fog rolled into Fenway Park, and the Angels knew it was getting late.
|Mike Napoli crossing home plate in the 12th might be the start of the Angels' turnaround. (AP)|
Almost morning time. Almost wintertime, too, because as Sunday night turned to Monday morning, the Angels knew their 100-win season was in serious danger of an ugly and embarrassing (think Cubs-like) end.
The Angels are still in danger, to be honest, because even after Sunday's 5-4, 12-inning, 5-hour and 19-minute survival test, they'll have to overcome Jon Lester in Game 4 and the Red Sox postseason magic in Game 5 if they want to advance.
But best-of-5 series can be funny things, and as close as the Angels were to the edge in Game 3, they emerged from Sunday night with a renewed belief that everything could go right.
"We smell blood, that's all I can tell you," Hunter said. "When you get a win like that, with a chance to go home (for a Game 5), that's just how it is. It's not being cocky. It's just confidence, being an athlete, a competitor, a professional."
There were so many ways Sunday night could have gone wrong for the Angels, so many ways this series could already have been history, so many things the Angels could have regretted and might still regret if they don't get it done Monday night and again on Wednesday.
There were those two losses last week in Anaheim, and especially the J.D. Drew home run off Francisco Rodriguez that won Game 2 for the Red Sox. Rodriguez was so upset that he avoided reporters on Friday night, and again on Saturday.
"I felt like I had let a lot of people down," Rodriguez said Sunday after Game 3. "I felt really destroyed, I'm not going to lie."
Rodriguez was out there again on Sunday, in a 33-pitch 10th inning that was one of the game's defining moments. The Red Sox loaded the bases against Rodriguez, and when Jed Lowrie lined a ball to right field, the Angels' closer momentarily believed he had given up a second successive game-ending hit.
"I thought it was in the gap," Rodriguez said. "Then I saw Gary (Matthews Jr.) catch it."
He celebrated. The Angels celebrated. Then came Erick Aybar's game-winning hit in the 12th.
The Angels, in the words of setup man Scot Shields, were "like a bunch of kids going crazy."