YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


It looked so good for Rays . . .

October 17, 2008|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

BOSTON -- The Red Sox faced a three-games-to-one deficit in the American League Championship Series on Thursday night, and who better to extricate them from a seemingly impossible predicament than Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Japanese right-hander and escape artist?

But not even Matsuzaka, who threw six no-hit innings in a Game 1 victory over Tampa Bay and has an uncanny knack for pitching his way out of jams, could slow the Rays.

Akinori Iwamura led off the game with a single to right, and B.J. Upton lined a two-run homer, his sixth of the playoffs, into a stiff wind and over the left-field wall for a 2-0 lead.

With one out in the third, Upton singled to center and Carlos Pena lined a first-pitch homer to right, his third homer in three games, to make it 4-0.

Evan Longoria the 23-year-old rookie from Long Beach State, followed with a solo homer to left, his sixth of the postseason and fourth in the last four games, tying an LCS record set by Houston's Carlos Beltran in 2004.

Matsuzaka was pulled after walking Iwamura to start the fifth.

Early returns

Before Joe Maddon's managerial meltdown in the seventh inning, he turned doubters into believers.

Maddon was heavily criticized for starting struggling left-hander Scott Kazmir over ace James Shields in Game 5.

"Scott Kazmir is a two-time All-Star, the best pitcher in the history of this organization," Maddon said before the game. "If you told the people in Boston last year that Kaz was going to pitch against them, they cringed, and all of a sudden he's not that good?

"You're talking about a very good pitcher who has pitched well in this park in the past. I know, more recently, he has not been on top of his game, but I like Kaz tonight. I think he's going to pitch well."

He did. Kazmir gave up two hits over six shutout innings, striking out seven and walking three.

Short hops

Though Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon gave up a two-run double to Upton in the seventh, both runs were charged to Manny Delcarmen, who walked two to open the inning. Papelbon escaped the seventh with no further damage and retired the side in order in the eighth to extend his career playoff scoreless streak to 24 innings in 15 games. . . . After going hitless in six at-bats in Game 1 of the division series, Upton has hit .394 (13 for 33) with six home runs, 14 runs batted in and 11 runs scored in his last eight playoff games.


Los Angeles Times Articles