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Lester and John Lackey, who also faced each other in Boston's Game 1 victory, matched scoreless innings through four before Kotsay and Varitek singled and Dustin Pedroia doubled them both in. An AL MVP candidate who was hitless in his first 15 at-bats of the playoffs, Pedroia pulled up one step before second base to bang his hands together in celebration.
But the Angels tied it in the eighth when Teixeira drew a two-out walk from Hideki Okajima, then Justin Masterson walked Vladimir Guerrero. The runners moved up on Varitek's passed ball, which proved costly when they scored on Torii Hunter's single to right.
Pedroia's confidence never wavered during the slump, as he showed when he popped out of the dugout for pregame batting practice and said, "You can't keep a good man down."
Or a good team.
The Red Sox may have missed a chance to sweep with Sunday's 5-4, 12-inning loss, but they saved themselves a trip back to Anaheim, Calif., for a winner-take-all Game 5.
Instead, they will play AL East winner Tampa Bay, which advanced with a 6-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox earlier Monday. A year after posting the worst record in the majors, the Rays won the division with a 97-65 record.
Notes: Lackey was rescued from a second loss in the series when the Angels tied it in the eighth. He allowed two runs on seven hits, giving up four runs in 13 2-3 innings in the pair of starts but was outpitched by Lester both times. ... Hunter was 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position. The rest of the Angels had three hits combined. ... Pedroia was hitless in 19 postseason at-bats dating to the 2007 World Series.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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