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Red Sox now look to finish off Angels

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  August 18, 2010 11:57 PM

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8bb9bbb7f155f20dd30e6a7067009171.jpgWas it was really only 10 months ago that the Angels swept the Red Sox in the division series then took the Yankees to six games in the ALCS?

That pesky Rally Monkey must be hiding in the Hollywood Hills with Cheeta until this all blows over. The Angels are 60-61 and fell to 0-9 against the Red Sox this season, getting outscored by an astounding 37 runs in those nine games.

The Sox went down 5-2 tonight and next thing you know it was 6-5. Los Angeles didn't manage a hit in the last four innings as Sox pitchers retired 13 of the final 15 batters, six by strikeout.

That's the good news. The bad news is the Yankees and Rays won, so the Sox remain 5.5 games out, but now with 41 games left. But, hey hot streaks have to start somewhere.

There were heroes all over the place tonight. Daniel Nava managed to get hit with an 0-2 pitch with the bases loaded to drive in the go-ahead run. Then he made a terrific catch to end the eighth, a grab made difficult when he started back on the ball at first before charging ahead.

The ever-frightening Adrian Beltre drove in three more runs. Bill Hall hit a ball that probably broke a BU dorm window somewhere. Victor Martinez and David Ortiz were 5 for 8 with two walks and three runs scored.

And how about some love for John Lackey? He retired the final seven batters he faced, giving the Sox a chance to get back in the game.

“Definitely not going to give that one back,” he said. “I might have been due one of those.”

Now Josh Beckett will try and make it 10 for 10 tomorrow night. He's pretty much reached the "earn your keep" stage.

As for other stuff:

* The save is a fairly useless and overhyped stat, but Jonathan Papelbon is the first pitcher in history to get 30+ saves in each of his first five full years in the majors.

* Ortiz has hit in nine straight at 13 of 39.

* Dustin Pedroia had a hit, a walk, a stolen base, and a sacrifice bunt. He's getting there.

That's it for today. Thanks to everybody for reading and all the comments. Back at it tomorrow.

Kudos if you got the Tarzan reference.

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