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Angels, BoSox Tied 6-6 in Bottom of 10th

October 9, 2004

BOSTON (AP) _ Vladimir Guerrero hit a grand slam in the seventh inning to tie the game at 6-6 as the Anaheim Angels battled to stave off elimination in their AL division playoff series Friday with the Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox took a 6-1 lead over the Angels after six and a half innings as they pushed for their first sweep since beating Oakland for the AL pennant in 1975.

But Anaheim rallied in the seventh after Boston starter Bronson Arroyo, making his first career postseason start, was pulled with one on and no outs after allowing only three hits and one run.

Mike Timlin came in to relieve and loaded the bases with one out. After getting another out, Timlin walked in one run and then gave up the slam to Guerrero before being replaced by Alan Embree.

Trot Nixon started the scoring for Boston in the third inning with a one-out single to right field to score Mark Bellhorn from third base. Bellhorn, who reached on a walk by Angels starter Kelvim Escobar, advanced to third on David Ortiz’s booming double off the left field wall. Ortiz came in moments later on Kevin Millar’s ground out.

After intentionally walking Jason Varitek, Escobar got Orlando Cabrera to pop out to second base to end the threat.

The Angels narrowed the score to 2-1 in the top of the fourth inning on Troy Glaus’ home run that easily cleared the Green Monster in left field.

But Boston came back with three runs in the bottom of the fourth and chased Escobar for Scot Shields.

The Red Sox ended Shields’ night with two outs in the fifth as they took a 6-1 lead.

Anaheim threatened to take the lead in the ninth when Chone Figgins reached and advanced to third on Darin Erstad’s double off the left field wall. But after walking Guerrero, Foulke struck out Garret Anderson and Glaus to end the threat.

The Red Sox went down in order in the bottom of the ninth.

Derek Lowe came in to pitch the 10th inning for Boston and got Jeff DaVanon to fly out to Johnny Damon in deep center field for the first out. Jose Molina followed with a walk and then advanced to second on Alfredo Amezaga’s sacrifice bunt.

Molina went to third on Ekstein’s scratch single with two outs and Lowe then ended the threat by getting Figgins to ground out on a slow chopper.

Arroyo, who struck out seven and walked two, didn’t have to be as good as co-aces Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez, who preceded him to the mound in the division series; the 27-year-old right-hander just had to be as good as he was in his last nine starts _ all Boston wins _ when he went 5-0 with a 3.78 ERA to help Boston clinch the AL wild-card.

The Red Sox were on the verge of elimination last year when Oakland made four errors and a pair of colossal baserunning blunders in Game 3 to open a door. So you’ll excuse the Boston players if they aren’t overconfident now that they have a 2-0 lead on the Anaheim Angels with a chance to clinch the best-of-five series on Friday at Fenway Park.

``We’d like to do it sooner than later. We can’t let the Angels get any breathing room,″ said outfielder Johnny Damon, who was on the A’s when they blew a similar lead to the New York Yankees in 2001.

``I told the guys last year, `We’re in a good spot. We’re supposed to lose,‴ Damon said. ``Hopefully, the Angels don’t feel that way.″

Anaheim can take just a little bit of consolation from their 2002 playoff run, when they lost the first game of each series but managed to win it all.

``I don’t care what happened in 2002,″ catcher Bengie Molina said. ``I wanted to win Game 1. And Game 2, too.″

``Bronson has earned his stripes,″ said Boston manager Terry Francona. ``He’s made a lot of starts this year and we’ve seen him evolve into a pretty good major league pitcher. And we would not give him the start if we didn’t think he could handle it.″

Arroyo was a castoff from the Pittsburgh organization who was claimed by the Red Sox before the 2003 season. He spent most of the year with Triple-A Pawtucket and didn’t make much of an impact in Boston until the playoffs, when he twice pitched a scoreless innings against the New York Yankees.

He was the odd man out heading north from spring training, getting a few starts while Byung-Hyun Kim was injured; when Kim came back, Arroyo was back in the bullpen. But when Kim faltered, Arroyo moved into the rotation, and there he stayed.

While Schilling got a lot of attention for his Cy Young-caliber year and Martinez remains a pitcher no team wants to face, Arroyo posted a solid season. He went 10-9 with a 4.03 ERA for the year and never missed a turn after shutting down Toronto for eight innings on May 15.

``Bronson has got a good head on his shoulders,″ Francona said. ``He’s taken this opportunity and he’s kind of run with it. ... He’s a hard worker, and he’s growing into this.″

Arroyo got the nod over Tim Wakefield, another Pirates reject who is scheduled to start Game 4 on Saturday, if necessary. With everyone in Boston concentrating on whether Schilling or Martinez would start Game 1, the debate over the undercard got little attention.

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