boston.com Sports Sportsin partnership with NESN your connection to The Boston Globe
ANGELS 10, RED SOX 7

Guerrero has Sox' number

Outfielder (9 RBIs) all the Angels need

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Hard to believe now, but there was a time when Vladimir Guerrero was afraid to venture from the Montreal apartment he once shared with Pedro Martinez without the piece of paper on which Martinez had scrawled their address.

New to the continent, unfamiliar with the language, the shy Dominican was utterly dependent on the assistance of Martinez, who called him "my little brother" as he helped him acclimate to the big leagues when they were Expos teammates.

No more. Guerrero is all grown up now, and while he remains close with Martinez, he had no trouble making the pitcher's life utterly miserable last night in Angel Stadium. Guerrero drove in nine runs, setting an Angels club record in a 10-7 win over the Sox that dropped Boston two games behind the New York Yankees in the American League East for the first time this season.

"I have to tip my hat," said Martinez, who was tagged for 11 hits, the sixth time in his career he has allowed 11 or more in a game, the first time since July 18, 1999, when he gave up a dozen to the Florida Marlins and went on the disabled list the next day. "He's the best player in the game. It doesn't surprise me to see an act like that from Vladi.

"I tried to work him six, seven inches off the plate and he still made contact."

Five of Guerrero's RBIs came against Martinez, beginning with a two-run home run in the first inning. The biggest three came against Mike Timlin on a sixth-inning home run that gave the Angels an 8-7 lead.

Discarded Sox prospect David Eckstein delivered the first blow to Martinez's ego with a leadoff single, one of a career-high five hits for the shortstop on a night the Angels would crank out 17 hits against three Sox pitchers, including Keith Foulke, who gave up a seventh-inning single to Guerrero that drove in the Angels' final run.

"I've never seen a night like that," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, whose team swept this brief two-game set by outslugging the Sox each night and leaving them with five losses in their last seven games. "I've seen guys have nice nights, but I don't think they were against the quality of pitching he faced or the caliber of ball club we were playing.

"To have him put up a night like that is just incredible. People are going to read that and think it's a misprint. Against Pedro, Timlin, and Foulke? They have an incredible bullpen."

Guerrero, who had two home runs, a double, a single, and a sacrifice fly, took over the league lead in RBIs with 49, blowing past David Ortiz. He is one home run behind Manny Ramirez, who hit his 15th, a drive off lefty Jarrod Washburn that cleared the center-field fence to lead off the second.

Guerrero came into the game as the only AL player ranked in the top five in average, home runs, and RBIs, and also was in the top five in runs, hits, total bases, and slugging percentage.

Regrettably for the Red Sox, Guerrero did not heed the advice offered by Martinez last summer, when he said that if Guerrero asked him, he would tell him to stay in the National League. Instead, in a deal closed seemingly overnight, Guerrero signed with the Halos.

"As amazing as his night was, the two guys in front of him [Eckstein and Chone Figgins] were on base 9 out of 10 times," said Sox manager Terry Francona.

Martinez was lifted before Guerrero came to bat again in the sixth against Timlin, who had been left in the bullpen the night before when Guerrero hit a tiebreaking two-run double off Bronson Arroyo. A day later, Francona said he still didn't know what he could have done differently.

Well, last night, he opted for Timlin with the Sox clinging to a 7-5 lead, and Guerrero vaporized that strategy -- and the Sox lead -- with a line drive into the artificial rockpile beyond the left-center-field fence for a three-run home run and an 8-7 Angels advantage.

Martinez was charged with seven runs, the eighth time in his career he has allowed as many and the second time this season. The arduous nature of his outing was crystallized in a 16-pitch at-bat in the third, when he fell behind Angels rookie Casey Kotchman 3-and-0, then threw 11 straight pitches that were fouled off before a swinging strike three ended the at-bat and the inning.

The Sox worked mightily to spare Martinez a defeat on a night he struck out four batters to become the 26th pitcher in major league history to record 2,500 or more whiffs, drawing into a tie with Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson (2,502).

They were as rough on Washburn as they had been on imported ace Bartolo Colon, knocking him out with six straight hits with one out in a five-run fourth that erased a 4-2 deficit. Dave McCarty, Gabe Kapler, Pokey Reese, and Mark Bellhorn singled in succession before Kevin Youkilis hit a two-run double into the right-center-field gap and Ortiz doubled over the head of left fielder Jose Guillen.

Martinez escaped a second-and-third, no-out jam in the fifth by setting down the next three Angels in order, but after what appeared to be an intense discussion with pitching coach Dave Wallace between innings, was lifted after hit No. 4 by Eckstein and a four-pitch walk to Figgins on his 108th pitch.

"I'm struggling a little bit lately," said Martinez, whose ERA of 4.40 is almost double the league-leading 2.22 ERA he posted last season. "I seem to be lost with my breaking stuff.

"I'm healthy. I'm coming back tomorrow. But this is too good a team to make mistakes against."

SEARCH THE ARCHIVES
 
Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives