Red Sox sweep Angels, leap into ALCS

Ortiz's 2-run homer in 10th spoils Anaheim comeback, 8-6

Arroyo allows 3 hits in start

October 09, 2004|By David Heuschkel | David Heuschkel,THE HARTFORD COURANT

BOSTON - It was a tale of two mighty swings by two of the most feared sluggers in baseball.

The first sent a hush over Fenway Park, setting the stage for another moment of October heartache in New England.

The second sent the sellout crowd into a state of euphoria and the Red Sox into the American League Championship Series for the second straight season.

"Everybody on the bench called it. Everybody," Red Sox hitting coach Ron Jackson said. "Everybody in the stands called it."

Everybody in the dugout charged onto the field as soon as David Ortiz, who has a knack for getting the big hit, delivered the biggest one in his career, a homer with two outs in the 10th inning last night that gave the Red Sox an 8-6 victory to complete a three-game American League Division Series sweep of the Anaheim Angels.

"It was hit so high, I wasn't sure if it was going to go," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. "The guy never ceases to amaze. In that kind of spot, he's the guy you want up at the plate."

Ortiz drove the first pitch, a high slider from left-hander Jarrod Wasburn, into the seats above the Green Monster to cap a four-hit day and turn the Red Sox clubhouse - that doubles as a frat house - into a madhouse.

Keith Foulke doused Epstein with champagne. Trot Nixon weaved his way through the crowd with a cigar in his mouth. Mike Myers emptied a bottle of beer over Bronson Arroyo's cornrows.

"It's great," Johnny Damon said. "But it won't be satisfying to me unless we win the whole thing. I enjoy the little celebration here. But you know what? It's only going to be a little one. We have eight more games to win."

Mike Timlin was poised to join the list of goats in Red Sox history when he surrendered a grand slam to Vladimir Guerrero in the seventh that tied it.

"When they came back we were kind of like, `Oh no!'" Damon said. "Just that team, they're a pain in the butt."

Bronson Arroyo allowed two runs and three hits in six innings. He walked Jeff DaVanon to start the seventh, handed the ball to manager Terry Francona and left to a standing ovation.

Mike Myers came in and walked pinch hitter Jose Molina. As soon as Adam Riggs was announced as a pinch hitter for Dallas McPherson, Red Sox manager Terry Francona summoned Timlin from the bullpen.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia called back Riggs and sent up Curtis Pride, who popped out. David Eckstein slapped an 0-and-2 pitch to right for a single that loaded the bases. Whatever panic had seeped into the collective consciousness of the fans was temporarily halted when Timlin struck out Chone Figgins.

Even though Guerrero was lurking in the on-deck circle, the Red Sox still had a 6-1 lead and Timlin was ahead 0-and-2 on Darin Erstad. Timlin wasted a pitch and Erstad fouled off the next one before working a walk.

In a matter of seconds, the tying run went from being at the plate to crossing it.

Guerrero drove the second pitch into the bullpen to even the score and stun the crowd.

"I put us a little bit out of the game but didn't take us all the way out," Timlin said.

Guerrero would not get a chance to deliver another big hit. He was intentionally walked in the ninth to load the bases with one out. The move worked when Foulke struck out Garret Anderson and Troy Glaus.

"I was just so proud of this club, the way they battled all game long," Epstein said. "We had so many different chances to lose that game. There were 25 heroes out there today."

Derek Lowe, the fifth reliever used by Red Sox manager Terry Francona, was an unlikely one. He escaped a jam in the 10th as the Angels stranded runners on the corners when shortstop Orlando Cabrera made a nice play on a grounder up the middle to get the speedy Figgins.

The Red Sox scored two in the third. Nixon had an RBI single that scored Mark Bellhorn (walk) and sent Ortiz (double) to third. Kevin Millar drove in another run with a broken-bat grounder past the mound that was slow enough to score Ortiz.

The Angels cut the deficit to one when Glaus clobbered a fastball from Arroyo off the Coke bottles. But the Red Sox responded with three runs, taking advantage of some sloppy fielding by the Angels.

Bill Mueller hit a grounder past the mound that went under Figgins' glove as he attempted to make a backhanded play. Damon singled and Bellhorn walked, loading the bases with none out. Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1, chasing starter Kelvim Escobar from the game.

Ortiz greeted reliever Scot Shields with a double that was just out of Guerrero's reach, scoring Damon and sending Bellhorn to third. After Nixon was intentionally walked, Millar hit a bouncer to the left side that Eckstein bobbled, allowing another run to score.

Ramirez drove in another run with a two-out single in the fifth that scored Mueller to make it 6-1.

"I've never been close to going all the way," Francona said. "This is a big, big ... well, it's a win. Regardless of how we did it. The way we did it was really exciting. But the team over there, we knew they would never stop playing. But we held them off."

With the sweep - just the second in their postseason history - the Red Sox have three days off before starting the ALCS on the road Tuesday night. The Yankees beat the Twins, 8-4, yesterday to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five series.

"We want to get to the World Series," Arroyo said. "Whichever way we have to."

The Hartford Courant is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

Division Series

Yesterday's results

Boston 8, Anaheim 6, 10 inn.

N.Y. 8, Minnesota 4

(Coverage, Pages 6-7C)

Today's games

Atlanta at Houston, 1:09 p.m., ESPN2

New York at Minnesota, 4:25 p.m., chs. 45, 5

St. Louis at Los Angeles, 8:10 p.m., chs. 45, 5

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