ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -No matter how much the Angels dominate Boston during the regular season, they can't beat the
hit a two-out, two-run homer off Los Angeles ace
in the sixth inning, and the
beat the Angels 4-1 Wednesday night in the opener of their first-round AL playoff series.
''I think we proved a lot,'' Bay said.
The Angels won eight of nine regular-season games between the teams this year, outscoring the
42-17 in the final six. But the
have won 10 straight postseason games against the Angels dating to 1986, including first-round sweeps in 2004 and 2007 en
route to World Series titles.
The World Series champion
tied a major league record for consecutive postseason wins over the same opponent, a mark Oakland set against the
Acquired in the three-team trade that sent
Los Angeles Dodgers
two months ago, Bay brought Boston back from a 1-0 deficit in the first postseason game of his career, and the
got a big start from John Lester (1-0), who allowed only an unearned run in seven innings.
''We had some chances early, and couldn't get some hits to fall in,'' Angels manager
said. ''Lester was on his game. He's having a terrific year. He's got a great arm and his velocity was up a bit from earlier
in the year and he was able to get the fastball on both sides of the plate.''
The Angels will try to draw even Friday night in Game 2 of the best-of-five series, with
pitching against Boston's
While just four of 28 teams to lose NL division series openers have come back to win series, it's been an even 14-14 split
in the AL, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
''We expect to go out and win every game, even though that's not the way it always works out,'' the Angels' Gary Matthews
Jr. said. ''You never go into a game expecting to lose. Santana's had an outstanding year for us, pitched with poise and confidence
all year and he was a completely different pitcher than he was the year before.''
There were plenty of dramatic moments in the opener.
With Boston clinging to a 2-1 lead and rookie
on the mound,
made a great diving catch on
's sinking fly to center starting the eighth.
''I thought he had no chance. It just looked like it was in no-man's land,''
followed with a single before
blooped a hit over first baseman
, who quickly recovered and easily threw out Guerrero at third.
''Vlad is aggressive, and it was a tough read, and it was behind him, and I thought he thought the ball was a little further
out there than it was,'' Scioscia said. ''And give Youkilis credit. He maintained his composure, got the hop and made a good
throw to third base.''
Hunter said he was surprised Guerrero tried to go from first to third on the play.
''Vladdy was aggressive. That's what we've been known for, but sometimes you have to be kind of smart,'' Hunter said. ''Sometimes
it's good to be aggressive, and sometimes it's bad to be aggressive. But Vladdy is Vladdy. He thought he could make it, but
it just didn't work out.''
added RBI singles in the ninth off
finished for his fifth postseason save, extending his postseason scoreless streak to 15 2-3 innings.
The Angels had broken on top with an unearned run in the third on Hunter's two-out, RBI single.
hit a one-out single and, after Teixeira struck out, rookie shortstop
muffed Guerrero's grounder before Hunter lined a 1-2 pitch to left that dropped in front of Bay.
Lowrie, making his postseason debut, set a major league record for rookie shortstops by handling 155 chances without an error
in 49 games at that position during the regular season.
''I just rushed a little bit, I think I was trying to flip the ball to second before I fielded it,'' Lowrie said. ''It kind
of looked for a while there like it might be the difference.''
Bay hit an 0-1 pitch far over the left-field fence with Youkilis aboard. He flipped his bat as he began his home run trot
upon leaving the batter's box, long before the ball landed in the seats beyond the double-decker bullpen.
''He left a fastball up, and I hit it,'' Bay said.
Lester got the Game 1 assignment after
was pushed back to Game 3 because of an oblique problem. He retired his final seven batters, striking out four, and only one
outfielder had a putout during his stint. Lester struck out seven and walked one.
''Early he established his fastball in,'' Francona said. ''Once we got the lead, he really went after 'em. He came with a
vengeance and struck out the side.''
That was in the bottom of the sixth, when Lester fanned
The Angels, who wrapped up the AL West title with 2 1/2 weeks left in the regular season, finished with a franchise-best 100-62
record that was tops in the majors. But they lost for the eighth time in 10 postseason home games since winning the 2002 World
Lackey, who won Game 7 of that World Series, allowed two runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings with three walks and five strikeouts.
''John pitched a terrific ballgame and certainly gave us a chance to win,'' Scioscia said. ''He didn't make many bad pitches
Notes: Ortiz extended his hitting streak in AL division series games to 12 with his ninth-inning single. ... Hall of Famer
, who celebrated his 63rd birthday Wednesday, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Teixeira was 2-for-4 in the first
postseason game of his career. ... Ellsbury had three hits, stole a base and scored a run. He also reached when Matthews misplayed
his seventh inning drive to right for a three-base error.