BOSTON — Mike Scioscia thought he made the right move; it just didn't work out. Jarrod Washburn felt he made the right pitch; he just didn't execute it. Chone Figgins thought he made a wise choice on the basepaths; it just backfired on him.
Regrets? The Angels, remarkably, had none Friday, stunning for a team that had just about everything go wrong from the eighth inning on and suffered its last, and most devastating, loss of the season.
Maybe they were still in shock from David Ortiz's two-out, two-run, walk-off home run in the 10th inning, which came on the first pitch Washburn had thrown in relief in five years and gave the Boston Red Sox a thrilling 8-6 American League division series-clinching victory over the Angels before 35,547 in Fenway Park.
Maybe they were still numb from watching the Red Sox mob Ortiz at home plate, forming a bouncing, hugging, massive ball of humanity in celebration of a three-game sweep that propelled Boston into the AL championship series against either the New York Yankees or Minnesota Twins.
Maybe they were in denial, refusing to believe they came all the way back from a 6-1 deficit, tying the score on a crowd-silencing grand slam by Vladimir Guerrero in the seventh, only to fail to score after loading the bases with one out in the ninth and losing with their closer, Troy Percival, holding the ball in the bullpen in the 10th.
But if there was any second-guessing Friday, it was not going to be done in the Angel clubhouse, where less than a week after clinching the AL West, the Angels were left to conduct a postmortem on a gut-wrenching finale to a series in which they held the lead for all of two-thirds of an inning.
"It hurts, it stinks, but this team never gives up, and we showed that [Friday]," first baseman Darin Erstad said. "We were down, 2-0 and 6-1, on the road, and we fought back and tied it. They got the big hit in the end. It just didn't work out for us this time."
That was the theme for the day.
After Brendan Donnelly struck out five of seven batters from the fifth inning through the seventh, and the Angels tied the game in the seventh, Scioscia summoned ace setup man Francisco Rodriguez for the eighth.
The 22-year-old right-hander, who threw 44 pitches in a two-inning stint in Game 2 Wednesday, retired the Sox in the eighth and ninth and started the 10th.
Johnny Damon led off with a single, and Mark Bellhorn bunted into a fielder's choice, shortstop David Eckstein making a remarkable lunging scoop of Figgins' one-hop throw to second.
Rodriguez struck out the dangerous Manny Ramirez with his 38th pitch, and with Ortiz, the left-handed cleanup batter who had two doubles and a single, coming up, Scioscia came to the mound.
Rodriguez, who had not thrown more than 2 1/3 innings in his 69 appearances this season, did not ask to come out. But he did not insist on staying in.
"He asked me how I felt -- I told him I was fine, but I was getting tired," Rodriguez said. "I wasn't trying to be a hero. I left everything out there. I gave 200%."
How much did Rodriguez have left? "To be honest," he said, "nothing."
At that point, Scioscia decided to pull Rodriguez.
"He was fatigued, no question," Scioscia said. "This was the right move, not only for this game, but for his career. There was no way I was going to take a chance with a youngster like that."
Both Washburn, the starter and loser in Game 1, and Percival were warm, but Scioscia did not want to use Percival for the final out of the 10th and bring him back in the 11th because the closer hadn't pitched more than one inning all season.
So in came the left-handed Washburn, the starter-turned-reliever, from a bullpen that had survived -- and thrived -- without a left-handed specialist all season.
Washburn tried to get Ortiz to lunge at a first-pitch slider, down and away, but he hung it, and Ortiz ripped an opposite-field homer over the Green Monster in left for the sudden-death victory.
"I've never experienced anything like that before," Washburn said. "At first, it was disbelief. Then, as time went by, I got more upset. It was the right pitch. I just didn't execute it."
The Angels had a chance to break the 6-6 tie in the ninth, but a mistake by Figgins might have cost them a run -- and the game. With one out, Figgins singled to left off closer Keith Foulke, and with Figgins running on a 3-and-1 count, Erstad lashed a double off the wall in left-center.
Figgins, thinking Ramirez might make a running catch, stopped at second as the ball caromed low off the wall. Figgins took third and stopped there, reminiscent of the mistake St. Louis' Lonnie Smith made against Minnesota in the 1991 World Series.
After intentionally walking Guerrero to load the bases, Foulke struck out Garret Anderson swinging, and Troy Glaus, who hit a long solo homer in the fourth, couldn't check his swing on a third-strike changeup, as the Red Sox escaped the jam.