BOBBY ABREU & TORII HUNTER

SWEPT AWAY BY A "RALLY MONKEY" ...
 2009 ALDS, GAME #1
John Lackey outduels Jon Lester

October 8, 2009 ... By the end of a long, angry night for the Red Sox, the enduring image was one of frustration. They had lost the first game of the American League Division Series against the Angels, lost it on a fastball that sailed beyond the fence in left-center. Home runs happen, even against Jon Lester, even in Game 1 of the postseason against a team the Sox had handled over and over again.

The calls, though was where their ire was raised. Their blood pressure, too, though both had cooled by the time the game ended. But not before the manager and the first baseman let first base umpire C.B. Bucknor in on their feelings. But after last night's 5-0 loss was over, the Sox were left with the fact that their ace had been outpitched, their bats had done little, and they had opened the doors to a much-improved Angels club that was called out by its center fielder in recent weeks about its tendency to play tight in close games.

It was that center fielder, one Torii Hunter, who battered Lester with the three-run, game-winning home run in the fifth inning, while Angels starter John Lackey was giving up nothing to the Red Sox, who have struggled this season against top-flight pitching. So while it was the same two franchises meeting again in the postseason, most everything was different.

The game shaped up in the beginning as a duel, with Lester and Lackey in lockstep, but it ended with only one of them waving his cap to an adoring crowd of 45,070. That, of course, was Lackey. And Lester wasn't quite good enough, as the fifth came around and his pitch count mounted. He allowed a double to Erick Aybar to begin the inning, which was followed by a sacrifice bunt by Chone Figgins. After he walked Bobby Abreu for the third time, Lester let go of a pitch to Hunter that was blasted out toward the rocks in left-center, putting the Angels up by three.

JOHN LACKEY

Lester also was busy getting aggravated over some questionable calls by home plate umpire Joe West. But it was Bucknor who made the most egregious error in the fourth, missing a clear tag by Kevin Youkilis on Howie Kendrick at first after a stellar pickup by Alex Gonzalez. Replays confirmed that Bucknor got the call wrong as Youkilis got his glove on Kendrick. Lester managed to get out of the inning, but it cost him six additional pitches, and left him at 66 through four.

It wasn't the last time the Sox had a beef with Bucknor, who missed another call to open the sixth. Youkilis came down on the bag after snaring a high Mike Lowell throw before Kendrick - yes, him again, reached the base. Bucknor called safe again, and Youkilis was so upset that he slammed his glove into the dirt. Francona rushed out to yell at Bucknor, his ire in full view. The Sox did get out of the inning without the Angels scoring again, thanks to a diving catch Jacoby Ellsbury made in center.

Lester pitched through tense circumstances, getting Vladimir Guerrero swinging to end a bases-loaded threat in the third, then getting Jeff Mathis swinging for the fourth out of that fourth inning (after the Kendrick play). He finally broke in the fifth.  And with Lackey pitching about as well as he can, the Sox went down in a Game 1 for the first time since they were swept out of the 2005 ALDS by the White Sox. No one in the clubhouse was panicking, their anger having simmered down. They were calm, if unhappy with their performance.

Beating the Halos in October had become a New England tradition, like picking apples at one of those yuppie-magnet orchards along Route 2. Three times in the last five years, the Sox eliminated the Angels with ease in the first round. Nine wins in 10 games. Dominance not seen since Muhammad Ali pummeled Chuck Wepner in Cleveland in 1975. In 94 innings of ALDS play against the Sox, the Angels led for a grand total of 7 1/2 innings.

Finally, the Angels stopped the madness. For one game, at least.
 

 
 

 

 

2009 American League Divisional Series, Game 1

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R

H

E

 
 

BOSTON RED SOX

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

   

0

4

3

 
 

LOS ANGELES ANGELS

0

0

0

0

3

0

2

0

x

   

5

7

1

 

 

W-John Lackey (1-0)
L-Jon Lester (0-1)
Attendance 45,070


2B-Aybar (LA), Rivera (LA)
HR-Hunter (LA)
 

ANAHEIM STADIUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RED SOX

 

AB

R

H

 

 

Jacoby Ellsbury cf 3 0 0  

 

Dustin Pedroia 2b 4 0 1  

 

Victor Martinez c 3 0 0  

 

Kevin Youkilis 1b 4 0 0  

 

David Ortiz dh 4 0 0  

 

Jason Bay lf 3 0 1  

 

Mike Lowell 3b 3 0 0  

 

J.D. Drew rf 3 0 1  

 

Alex Gonzalez ss 2 0 1  

 

Casey Kotchman ph 1 0 0  

 

Jed Lowrie ss 0 0 0  
             
    IP H ER SO  
  Jon Lester 6 4 3 5  
  Ramon Ramirez - 1 2 0  
  Takashi Saito 1 2 0 0  
  Daniel Bard 1 0 0 2  

 

         

 

             

 

ANGELS

 

AB

R

H

 

 

Chone Figgins 3b 4 0 0  

 

Bobby Abreu rf 0 1 0  

 

Torii Hunter cf 2 1 1  

 

Vladimir Guerrero dh 4 1 1  

 

Juan Rivera rf 4 1 1  

 

Kendrys Morales 1b 4 0 1  

 

Howie Kendrick 2b 4 0 1  

 

Jeff Mathis c 3 0 1  

 

Erick Aybar ss 4 1 1  
             
    IP H ER SO  
  John Lackey 7.1 4 0 4  
  Darren Oliver 1.2 0 0 1