NFL News - October 12th, 2009 - Written by John
When Jonathan Papelbon approached the mound, lid tipped low over his eyes with a stoic demeanor he has become his trademark, Boston Red Sox fans began to celebrate.
Minutes later, they were miserably silent.
They remained that way as the Los Angeles Angels celebrated a monumental win over the Red Sox on Sunday.
After retiring the first two batters he saw, Papelbon surrendered three ninth-inning runs, blowing a playoff save for the first time in his career, to give the Angels their first ever postseason sweep. Vladimir Guerrero had the game-winning hit, a two-run single up the middle to make it 7-6 and that was the final.
“I told you guys earlier: It’s going to be a different scene,” Torii Hunter said amidst the champagne shower. “Vladdy came through. That’s probably one of the biggest hits of his career. They’ve been waiting for him to do it, and he did it.”
It was a stunning result given the fact that Boston was the team to knock out Los Angeles in their previous four meetings and had won 12 of their last 13 playoff games. But the Angels, particularly Hunter, deflected hex questions all week, and proved that they were a different team early. Hunter hit a bomb in the first game off Jon Lester, and the Angels spoiled Josh Beckett's night on Friday.
They fell behind against Clay Buchholz Sunday, but sparkled against the typically unbeatable Papelbon like no one had before. The perennial All-Star reliever hadn't given up a single run in the playoffs in 27 innings.
“You’re not going to get to him too often. But we did this afternoon,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said on Yahoo! Sports. “And I felt great for Vlad. hopefully, that’s a momentum-builder for him...I know he’s relieved. He’s excited about contributing. And hopefully it will be the start of something good.”
Down 6-4, Erick Aybar and Chone Figgins started the top of the ninth with a single and a walk. Bobby Abreu then drilled a Papelbon fastball to the green monster, bouncing it off the wall to score Aybar. Papelbon intentionally walked Hunter to load the bases for Guerrero, who had only one playoff RBI in his last 19 games, with one out. But the DH jumped on the first pitch he saw, and dropped it in front of Jacoby Ellsbury in center, scoring both Figgins and Abreu to stun the Fenway crowd.
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