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Red Sox 4, Angels 2

Heaven-sent win

Martinez, bullpen boost Red Sox past Angels

By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Staff / July 17, 2004
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Red Sox beat the Angels, 4-2, last night, but may lose slugger David Ortiz for a few games.

Ortiz was called out on strikes leading off the seventh inning and got ejected after arguing the call with plate umpire Matt Hollowell. Ortiz lunged at the umpire after being ejected and was blocked by Sox manager Terry Francona. Batting coach Ron Jackson also helped restrain Ortiz and the All-Star slugger was reluctantly steered off the field.

Once in the dugout, Ortiz grabbed a pair of bats and flung them in the direction of umpires Bill Hohn (crew chief) and Mark Carlson. The bats narrowly missed the umpires and Ortiz likely will be suspended.

"I did something wrong," said a contrite Ortiz. "I apologize to the fans and the umpires."

Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino paid a visit to the umpires after the game, pleading for leniency when the inevitable penalty is handed down.

The Ortiz fireworks somewhat overshadowed a strong pitching performance by Pedro Martinez (6 innings, 2 runs, 8 strikeouts) and solo home runs by Nomar Garciaparra and Gabe Kapler as the Red Sox beat the Angels for the first time in four meetings this season. Four members of the Sox bullpen pitched shutout baseball over the final three innings and Keith Foulke picked up the save (No. 14) with a 1-2-3 ninth, aided by a sensational catch in left by Kapler.

Starting on eight days' rest, buoyant in the aftermath of his annual midsummer vacation in the Dominican Republic, Martinez picked up his 10th win and threw harder than he has for most of the season.

"I felt a lot better," said Martinez. "That's better than I felt in the first half. I felt like I could throw 95, easy. The few extra days off paid off."

Garciaparra staked the Sox to a 1-0 with a first-pitch, homer off Kelvim Escobar to start the second inning. It was the fifth homer of the season for Garciaparra, who was in the cleanup spot because Manny Ramirez was on the bench with tightness in his left hamstring (Ramirez pinch hit in the ninth and dumped a single into left-center).

The Sox put another run on the board in the fourth. Trot Nixon led with a pop to left field. Jose Guillen, he of the rifle right arm, ran in too far and the ball dropped 15 feet behind him. Then Jason Varitek scored Nixon with a hard single to left on a 1-and-2 pitch to make it 2-0.

Resorting to "Littleball" (and we don't mean Grady), Varitek ran on a 3-and-2 pitch to Kapler and stole his sixth base of the season after Kapler fanned. Pokey Reese snapped an 0-for-24 slump with a two-out, hard single to center, scoring Varitek for a 3-0 lead.

The Angels got one back in the fourth when Martinez left an 0-and-2 pitch over the plate and Guillen drove it over the 400-foot sign in center (just out of the reach of Johnny Damon) for his 16th homer. It was the 15th homer allowed by Martinez, who yielded only seven last season. Darin Erstad followed with a double to right, then Martinez caught Jeff DaVanon looking at a 93-mile-per-hour heater to get out of the inning. He was at 71 pitches after four innings.

The Sox loaded the bases on two singles and a walk in the fifth, but Kevin Millar grounded to short. Boston stranded seven in the first five innings.

Martinez walked one batter but struck out the side in the fifth. He took a 3-1 lead into the sixth, having thrown 91 pitches as he prepared to face the 3-4-5 hitters in the Angels' batting order.

Anderson was first and Martinez struck him out, floating a 75 mile-per-hour changeup across the outside of the plate. Anderson watched the pitch, but did not argue. Vladimir Guerrero was next and swung and missed a curveball in the dirt for strike three. Then came Guillen and he walked on five pitches. Martinez was past his magic 105-pitch count, but there was no activity in the bullpen. Guillen stole second, then scored on a line single up the middle by Erstad.

Erstad's hit triggered action. Alan Embree got up to throw and pitching coach Dave Wallace came out to the mound to talk to Martinez. The pitch count was 112. It took him three pitches to get DaVanon to ground to short.

Ortiz's ejection highlighted the seventh inning. Kapler's homer made it 4-2 in the eighth. And the Sox rode home on the strength of Curtis Leskanic, Embree, Mike Timlin, and Foulke getting the job done out of the bullpen.

"We needed that tonight," said Francona. "That's a good team over there."

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