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Bobby Abreu gets no love in Boston

Angels outfielder does a number on the Red Sox, who had their fill of him in American League division series.

October 12, 2009|Mike DiGiovanna

BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox were in agreement: They do not like Bobby Abreu. It was the ultimate compliment for the veteran right fielder, whose fingerprints were all over the Angels' three-game American League division series sweep of the Red Sox.

"I can do without Abreu," Boston third baseman Mike Lowell said. "I felt like he was on base the whole damn series. I mean, I like the guy, but I don't like him that much."

Next to Lowell in the losing clubhouse was reliever Billy Wagner, who gave up a leadoff double to Abreu in the eighth inning, the hit that sparked the comeback that gave the Angels a 7-6, series-clinching win in Fenway Park.

"I hate Bobby Abreu," Wagner said. "Tell him I said that."

The Angels love the guy. Can't get enough of him.

Abreu gave them more bang for the buck than any of the free agents on the market last winter, hitting .293 with 15 home runs, 103 runs batted in, 96 runs and 94 walks after signing a one-year, $5-million deal.

As an added bonus, Abreu schooled several Angels youngsters on the value of plate discipline and patience.

And now, Abreu has proved his worth in the postseason, collecting five hits in nine division series at-bats (.556) against the Red Sox, drawing four walks -- all in Game 1-- and scoring four runs in three games.

With two outs in the ninth inning Sunday, Abreu lined a run-scoring double off the left-field wall to pull the Angels closer, 6-5, and set the stage for Vladimir Guerrero's two-run, game-winning single against closer Jonathan Papelbon.

"I told Bobby he's my favorite player," Angels center fielder Torii Hunter said. "He had all those walks and got the big hit off Papelbon in the ninth inning."

The left-handed-hitting Abreu hit a double off the glove of first baseman Kevin Youkilis to open the eighth inning and scored along with Guerrero on a two-run single by Juan Rivera to trim Boston's lead to 5-4.

Showing his versatility, Abreu drove a Papelbon pitch on the outer half of the plate to the opposite field in the ninth inning.

"He's one of those guys who comes right at you, and he's not afraid to throw the fastball," Abreu said. "I knew any fastball middle away would be something good to hit, especially because of the wall. So, I took my chances on that."

Papelbon, who helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2007, had not given up a run in 26 innings of his 17 postseason appearances -- until Abreu's hit.

"It was tough," Abreu said. "Papelbon is one of those guys who has done really well in the postseason. I want to be the guy in that situation. It happened."

Because of it, and Guerrero's heroics, Abreu has advanced past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in his 13-year career.

"To go to the second round is something special," Abreu said.

"This team never surrenders. It never gives up."

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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