Papelbon Blows A Two-Run Lead, Angels Advance To ALCS
With two outs in the top of the 9th inning, Jonathan Papelbon had Erick Aybar and the Angels down to their last strike. The Boston crowd prepared for a Game 3 win. However, this time the late inning "Fenway Magic" was reversed.
Down 0-2, Aybar got a fastball over the plate and served it up the middle for a 2 out single.
Once more, the Angels were down to their last strike with Chone Figgins at the plate. With a full count to Figgins, Papelbon overthrew a fastball, putting Figgins on first base.
Now, with the tying runs on base, Bobby Abreu stepped into the batter's box. Once more, Abreu proved to be one of the best off-season pickups. Down in the count 1-2, he slapped a double up against the Green Monster. Aybar scored from second, and the Angels had the tying run 90 feet away from home plate.
Now came a big decision, and in my opinion, a bad one. With men on second and third, Terry Francona decided to walk Torii Hunter and load the bases for Vladimir Guerrero.
On the first pitch to Vlad, he punched a single into center field. Abreu scored from second and the Angels took a 7-6 lead.
Okajima came in from the bullpen to retire Morales and keep the game within reach for Boston.
With a one run lead in the 9th inning, Mike Scioscia put the game in the hands of Brian Fuentes.
Fuentes was calm as could be as he set down Lowrie, Ellsbury, and Pedroia in order, sending the Angels to the ALCS for the first time since 2005.
The Angels celebrated on the Red Sox's infield in front of a stunned, silent, and disappointed home crowd.
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