SOX LOSE, FALL BEHIND 0-2 (12:50, END 9, 4-1 ANGELS)
The Red Sox got the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but Lowell stranded a pair of runners. Fuentes got Ortiz to loft a 1-2 pitch to left. With two outs, Bay walked to put two men. Lowell lined a 1-1 pitch to center, but Hunter hardly had to move before he squeezed the ball over his head. Fireworks shot into the sky behind him.
And now, the season falls to Clay Buchholz. He will face Scott Kazmir on Sunday at noon in Fenway Park with the Sox down 0-2 in the ALDS and facing elimination. The Angels stunningly dispatched of Red Sox aces Jon Lester and Josh Beckett with two outstanding performances by their own starters, John Lackey and Jered Weaver. The Red Sox mustered one run in the first two game on just eight hits, six of which were singles. Tonight, they had only four hits, just two against Weaver, who lasted 7 1/3 innings and struck out seven.
YOUK DOUBLES, ENTER FUENTES (12:42, TOP 9, 4-1 ANGELS)
Youkilis drilled his first hit of the series, a double to left-center. Ortiz will now face Fuentes with first base open and Bay looming on deck. Ervin Santana is also warming.
Before Youkilis’s double, the Youkilis and Ortiz, the 4-5 hitters, had been 0 for 14 with five strikeouts in the series.
JEPSEN IN, FUENTES READY (12:40, TOP 9, 4-1 ANGELS)
Jepsen stays in the game, and he retired Martinez on the first pitch, which he smoked right at Hunter in center. He’ll face Youkilis, too. The guess is, Brian Fuentes, a lefty closer, will face Ortiz next.
THREE OUTS LEFT (12:35, END OF 8, 4-1 ANGELS)
Billy Wagner allowed a single by Bobby Abreu to start the bottom of the inning. But Jonathan Papelbon came in and retired the side. Hunter flew to center, Abreu was caught stealing and Kendrick struck out looking. The Sox need some magic now to avoid an 0-2 hole.
THREE OUTS LEFT (12:25, MID 8, 4-1 ANGELS)
The Red Sox are three outs from an 0-2 hole. Pedroia tapped weakly to left side of the infield, and Jepsen pounced on the ball and threw to first. The ball traveled about 25 feet, a meager hit that serves as a fitting representation of the Red Sox offense this series. They have made 51 outs and have seven hits this series, six of them singles.
Lowrie remains in at short. Brian Fuentes is warming.
A BASERUNNER, AND A NEW PITCHER (12:20, TOP 8, 4-1 ANGELS)
After Lowrie struck out looking on three pitches, Ellsbury slapped a ground ball into the hole on the left side. Aybar made a backhand play, but Ellsbury’s speed was way too much. After the infield single, Scioscia called on Jepsen — one of Nick Adenhart’s closest friends on the team — to pitch to Pedroia with two outs.
Ellsbury become the first Sox hitter with two hits in the series, and the only one with an extra base hits.
OLIVER IN, SOX SHUFFLE HITTERS (12:14, TOP 8, 4-1 ANGELS)
After Weaver struck out Drew by pumping a 93-mph fastball over the inside corner, Mike Scioscia emerged from the dugout and called upon Darren Oliver. Weaver walked off and doffed his cap to a huge ovation. Casey Kotchman had been on deck to pinch hit for Gonzalez, but once Oliver, a lefty, became the new pitcher, Kotchman went back to the bench. So Jed Lowrie will pinch hit for Kotchman. Bases empty, one out.
WEAVER STILL IN (12:11, TOP 8, 4-1 ANGELS)
Weaver remains on the mound with Darren Oliver and Jepsen getting loose. He started the inning with 106 pitches thrown.
INNING OVER (12:07, END OF 7, 4-1 ANGELS)
Wagner fanned Figgins. But the Angels scored three runs in the inning. The line for Beckett: 6.2 innings, 5 hits, 4 runs, 4 earned, 1 walk 3 strikeouts). Not bad, but not nearly good enough on a night with scant run support.
BECKETT OUT (12:03, BOTTOM SEVEN, 4-1 ANGELS)
After Izturis gave the Angels the lead, Beckett hit Mike Napoli in the shoulder. Beckett contended that Napoli should have tried to get out of the way of the breaking pitch. But that call is rarely made. Erick Aybar then delivered a two-run triple over the head of Jacoby Ellsbury in center. Beckett is done and Billy Wagner is in to face Figgins.
THOSE ANGELS ARE DEMONS (12:00, BOTTOM 7, 2-1 ANGELS)
When Guerrero drew a walk to start the bottom of the seventh, it looked like an opportunity for the Angels. Mike Scioscia jumped at it and send in Howie Kendrick to run, then tried a hit and run. It was foiled when Morales lined to left and Kendrick had to retreat. But he stole second and scored on a two-out single by Izturis on a 1-1 pitch.
With the Red Sox having scored one run over 16 innings in this series, a 2-1 lead is looking mighty large. Anaheim now has two on and two out.
BINARY CODE BASEBALL (11:39, MID 7, 1-1)
Still nothing but 1s and 0s on the scoreboard. The Sox got their first base runner in two innings when Bay drew a 3-2 walk with two outs — Youkilis had grounded back to Weaver, and Ortiz broke his bat on a one-hopper to second. But Lowell flied to left-center, where Hunter made the catch, to end the inning. The Sox don’t have a hit since Martinez’s single in fourth.
Reliever Kevin Jepsen was warming at the end of the inning, and Weaver has thrown 106 pitches.
BEND IT LIKE BECKETT (11:28, BOTTOM 6, 1-1)
Right now, how many living rooms and taverns in New England have people discussing whether Beckett should have started Game 1? All of them? He has retired the last eight batters for Los Angeles and has scattered three hits over six innings while throwing only 75 pitches. In the sixth he got Figgins looking, Abreu on a grounder to first and Hunter on a fly ball to right.
WEAVER DOMINANT (11:22, MID 6, 1-1)
The sixth might have been Weaver’s best yet. Ellsbury, who tripled in his previous at-bat, struck out swinging. Pedroia grounded weakly to second, making him 1 for 7 this series. Martinez struck out looking at a fastball on the outside corner on 2-2. On 0-2, Weaver gave him a great sequence — curve in the dirt, fastball at the chin, fastball outside. Weaver has struck out three of the past four batters, and the Sox have two hits tonight. He’s up to 92 pitches; Beckett has only 64 through five.
FIVE AND FLY (11:14, BOTTOM 5, 1-1)
Beckett disposed of the bottom of the order in quick fashion, getting Izturis swinging, Napoli on a fly ball and Aybar on a grounder to second. Poor TBS barely had time to decide which commercial for “Men of a Certain Age” to use for the 172d time.
STILL TIED (11:07, MID 5, 1-1)
Bay nearly gave the Sox the lead back. To lead off the inning, Bay rocked a 90-mph fastball to center, forcing Hunter to make a catch on the warning track, his back brushing up against the wall. Lowell flied weakly to shallow right. Drew walked; this is kind of crazy, but his two times on base ties Martinez for the team lead in the playoffs. Gonzalez submitted what for him was a remarkably patient at-bat, laying off two sliders outside to work a 3-1 count. But Weaver came back and blew a 92-mph fastball by him, anyway, for strike three.
The thing about Weaver, because he is a fly ball pitcher, is that he’s always on the edge, more susceptible to one swing changing the game than, say, John Lackey. Of his 15 outs so far, eight have been fly outs and three have been ground outs . Something to keep in mind.
ANGELS TIE IT UP (10:54, BOTTOM 4, 1-1)
That prosperity didn’t last long. After Bobby Abreu singled, Mike Lowell took a hit away from Torii Hunter with an incredible stab of a line drive that was headed for the left-field corner. Mike Scioscia went to one of his favorite gambits, the hit-and-run, and it worked perfectly. When Bobby Abreu took off, Vladimir Guerrero singled into right field. Had Dustin Pedroia not been going to cover the bag, it’s a double play. Abreu instead went to third and scored on a sacrifice fly (line drive, actually) by Kendry Morales. Heck of a game here tonight.
RALLY SQUELCHED (10:42, MID 4, 1-0 SOX)
Martinez never moved past first — Youkilis flied to center, and Ortiz struck out swinging on a 93-mph fastball up around his shoulders. He is 0 for 6 with four strikeouts so far this series. Ouch. Still, the Sox did take a lead, and even one run will mean a lot the way Beckett is throwing.
HEY, IT’S A RUN (10:36, TOP 4, 1-0 SOX)
Martinez keeps getting more and more valuable. On the first pitch of the fourth, Ellsbury drilled a line drive to center, over the head of Hunter and off the wall. Ellsbury raced to third for a triple, snapping an 0-for-24 postseason skid. Pedroia grounded out to third, and Figgins, drawn in, held Ellsbury at third. And then Martinez poked a single to single, a typically smooth swing that scored the Sox’ first run of the 2009 postseason. Youkilis is batting.
HEY, IT’S A HIT (10:29, BOTTOM 3, 0-0)
Josh Beckett retired the first eight hitters before Erick Aybar dropped a single into left field. No problem as he got Chone Figgins to fly to left to end the inning. He has owned the Angels so far.
MAKE IT 20 (10:16, MID 3, 0-0)
Beckett and Weaver are the only ones who matter so far. Just dominant, both of them. Mike Lowell popped to second, J.D. Drew dribbled a ball to first, which Weaver picked up before tagging Drew out himself. Alex Gonzalez flied to shallow center. That makes 20 straight postseason innings without a run for the Sox. Weaver could be out there a while — he’s thrown 39 pitches, 25 strikes.
NO JOSHING AROUND (10:08, BOTTOM 2, 0-0)
Josh Beckett just had another rocking-chair inning. Pop to center, grounder to first, strikeout looking. He needed only 11 pitches. It’s all pitching here so far.
DREAM WEAVER (10:02, MID 2, 0-0)
The Red Sox have sent six men to the plate, and Weaver has retired them all. Kevin Youkilis flied to center, David Ortiz flied to left, and Jason Bay struck out swinging at a 79-mph curve in the dirt, unable to check his swing. He threw only 11 pitches that inning and has 26 for the game.
GOOD START (9:53, END 1, 0-0)
Pete Abraham here. I’ll be alternating half innings with Adam Kilgore. So hang out with us all night as Game 2 goes on.
Josh Becket induced grounders to shot, second and third in the first inning. 12 pitches, seven strikes, no issues whatsoever. Dustin Pedroia made a nice play on Bobby Abreu in the hole, tackling a ball before it could get into right field. That’s what Abreu gets for swinging.
MORE OF THE SAME (9:46, MID 1, 0-0)
Another inning, another zero for the Red Sox offense. This is becoming a trend. They’re scoreless in 10 innings this postseason, and 18 straight in the playoffs going back to Game 7 of the ALCS last season. Jacoby Ellsbury struck out looking at a 2-2, 90-mph fastball over the inside corner after fouling a couple balls away. Pedroia saw one ball and grounded out to third base. Victor Martinez flied a 3-2 fastball to center. Here comes Josh Beckett.
Also, CB Bucknor put his pants on over his underwear, so that is a good first step for him.
READY TO GO (9:27, PRE 1, 0-0)
The anthem and intros are done. First pitch is coming in about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in the Bronx, Joe Nathan is trying to close out a 3-1 Twins win against Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Hideki Matsui. How can you not love this time of year?