Los Angeles Angels
thinks he's figured out why the
have been so successful at home.
After two questionable calls kept the
alive with two outs in the ninth,
hit a game-winning blooper down the left-field line to give Boston a 9-8 victory over the Angels on Wednesday night - the
seventh consecutive win for the
and their 10th in a row at Fenway Park.
That left Fuentes wondering aloud whether the umpires were too ''timid'' or ''scared'' to go against the sellout crowds at
''Especially here and some other places, they seem timid to make calls,'' he said after twice failing to get a third strike
called on pinch-hitter
, who wound up drawing a bases-loaded walk to score the tying run. ''I've heard it from other guys that come in here and say
that. That's either because it's a mistake, or they're scared.''
Fuentes (1-5) came into game looking for his major league-leading 42nd save and got two quick outs before walking
and giving up infield singles to J.D. Drew and
. Green quickly fell behind 0-2 and offered at the third pitch but stayed in the box when first base umpire Jeff Kellogg ruled
that he did not go around.
Green then fouled off three pitches before taking three balls to walk in the tying run. The last was a knee-high fastball
that had catcher
jumping out of his crouch in anticipation of Strike 3.
''What was the count at the end, 3-4 to Green?'' Angels manager
said sarcastically. ''I thought we had him a couple of times. I was surprised. It's a good umpiring crew and I think we really
feel strongly they missed a couple times we had Green struck out. Unfortunately, that's the focal point of the game and it
didn't go our way.''
Boston trailed 3-0 and 7-5 before tying the game in the bottom of the eighth. The Angels took the lead in the top of the ninth
on three straight two-out singles against
But Fuentes gave it back - and more - in the bottom half.
Gonzalez, who hit a two-run, bases-loaded bloop to right to give Boston the lead in a five-run sixth inning, looped one down
the left-field line that fell in front of
when he decided not to dive for it. That set off a familiar celebration in Fenway. where the
have sold out 542 consecutive games.
''Gonzie hit it just well enough where it found some outfield grass,''
said. ''Greenie's at-bat was great. He was behind on the first couple of fastballs. You could see him getting closer and closer
as he was fouling some. That's a heck of an at-bat.
''I was holding my breath the last two at-bats, just hoping for a break or hoping for something good to happen, and we got
it,'' Francona added.
Despite losing four of their last five, the Angels maintained a six-game lead over Texas in the AL West; the Rangers fell
6 1/2 games behind Boston in the wild-card race. If the standings hold, the
and Angels will meet again in the first round this year.
The Angels have lost 12 of their last 13 playoff games against the
dating to 1986 and are 0-4 all-time in postseason series against the
had four hits for the Angels and Rivera had three, including a two-run double in a four-run seventh inning - aided by a dropped
third strike - that gave Los Angeles a 7-5 lead.
's third hit was an RBI single to break a ninth-inning tie and give the Angels an 8-7 lead.
''If you come back against them - being down, going ahead, being down, coming back again, being down again and coming back
- it's a phenomenal game,''
said. ''I was in the clubhouse screaming with ice on my arm. I can't believe what a great game that was.''
NOTES: Francona said C
will be back in the lineup on Thursday, but 1B
might have to take another day or two. RHP
is getting better and could pitch on Monday for the third time since the All-Star break. ...
was unavailable. ... Guerrero was hit by a pitch in the ribcage in the seventh and was pinch hit for in the eighth. The Angels
said it was a bruise and no X-rays were taken. ... Angels starter
had won four straight, allowing two earned runs or fewer in each of his last four starts. ... Making his fourth start since
signing a minor league deal in August, Byrd went 5 1-3 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits and a walk, striking out
four. He also gave up three long outs in the first two innings and a 415-foot double to Abreu in the fifth.