BOSTON — The door to the visitors' clubhouse at Fenway Park is on the concourse beneath the third base grandstands. And though most in the sellout crowd of 38,704 were disappointed by the Angels' comeback win over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, they managed to keep their ire focused on the real enemy: the New York Yankees.
So as fans passed by the locker room on their way out of the ballpark, they sent the Angels off to the American League Championship Series with chants of "Beat the Yankees! Beat the Yankees!"
From cheers to jeers
Red Sox Nation was not as forgiving with closer Jonathan Papelbon, who hadn't given up a postseason run before blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead Sunday. When Papelbon walked off the mound, he was showered with boos.
"I guess they're upset," second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "They'll cheer him again."
Said outfielder Jason Bay: "No one's perfect. There isn't one guy in here that wouldn't want him out there in five minutes. I don't think anyone's going to second-guess anything."
Follow the bouncing ball
Overshadowed by the Angels' ninth-inning rally were the two runs they scored against reliever Billy Wagner and Papelbon in the eighth inning -- runs that wouldn't have scored had Pedroia been able to turn Kendry Morales' hard-hit grounder into an inning-ending double play.
But the ball took a bad hop, handcuffing Pedroia and extending the inning.
"Our infield sucks. It's the worst in the game. I'm not lying about that," said Pedroia, who blamed the grounds crew. "That stuff upsets me. My job's to take 1,000 ground balls a day and the others guys' jobs are to get the field perfect so we can play baseball.
"It happens. That's the way it goes."