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After Mike Lowell's RBI single made it 6-4 in the eighth, Papelbon got Maicer Izturis on a foul popup and Mike Napoli on a fly ball to center. Abreu lined one off the Green Monster to cut the lead to 6-5, and the Red Sox appeared to have caught a break when Figgins held up at third while the throw from left fielder Jason Bay rolled into the infield.
But after Hunter walked, Guerrero singled up the center for the go-ahead hit.
Guerrero is an eight-time All-Star and former AL MVP with a .321 career batting average, 407 home runs and 1,318 RBIs. A free swinger, he was regarded as someone who could hit any pitch, even ones that bounced.
But ever since a couple of big hits vs. Boston in the 2004 division series, Guerrero had barely made a dent in the postseason. He'd managed only one extra-base hit -- a double -- in 69 at-bats going into Game 3.
Angels Game 3 starter Scott Kazmir, who was on the Rays last year and he didn't join Los Angeles until Aug. 28, spotted the Red Sox a 5-1 lead as their bats awoke from a postseason slump. The three runs Boston scored in the third inning were more than it had scored in the first two games of the series combined.
In fact, Boston had scored a total of two runs in 32 postseason innings before taking a 3-0 lead on Sunday.
NOTES: In Game 2 of the 2007 World Series, Papelbon protected a one-run lead by picking Colorado's Matt Holliday off first to end the eighth inning -- it was Papelbon's first career pickoff. ... Emergency Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka was throwing in the sixth, but likely just to loosen up. He is not in the playoff rotation but would have come in if Buchholz had faltered early. ... The Red Sox hadn't been eliminated in Boston since the Chicago White Sox finished off a three-game sweep in the 2005 first round. ... Napoli was hit by a pitch in the second inning, but Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez argued that it hit the end of his bat. Napoli was also hit in Game 2 by Josh Beckett, who argued that the batter didn't make any effort to get out of the way. ... Boston CF Jacoby Ellsbury robbed Abreu of at least a single with a diving catch for the second out of the third inning.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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