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The Red Sox were down 1-0 and Angels ace John Lackey was on the hill. Lackey hasn’t had tremendous success against the Red Sox, especially in the playoffs, but this season and game seemed different. With two outs in the sixth inning, everything changed on one swing of the bat.
Jason Bay provided the heroics for the Red Sox, hitting a go-ahead, two-run homer in his first career playoff game. Lackey took the loss yet again in a postseason series against the Red Sox, but did pitch relatively well (6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 HR).
The usually reliable Scot Shields allowed two big insurance runs for the Red Sox to cross the plate, after Jacoby Ellsbury singled home Jed Lowrie, and David Ortiz singled home Ellsbury. Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon closed the door in the ninth, allowing one hit but striking out the side to secure the victory for Jon Lester (1-0).
Lester was maginificent through seven innings, allowing only one unearned run on six hits to go with seven strikeouts. The young lefty earned the win, and gave the Red Sox their 10th straight victory in the playoffs over the Angels franchise dating back to the 1986 ALCS.
Ellsbury was a great spark plug at the top of the lineup (much like last year’s playoffs) after going 3-5 with a double, two stolen bases, one run scored, and a beautiful diving catch in the eighth inning that robbed Mark Teixiera of a base hit.
Game 2 is set for Friday, with Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka facing off against LA’s Ervin Santana.