10/05/2004 7:11 PM ET
Angels come up short in opener
Poor pitching and defense pave way for Red Sox
By Robert Falkoff / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- The Angels had a defined blueprint for success against the Boston Red Sox, but those best-laid plans went astray Tuesday in a frustrating fourth inning that left Angel Stadium as quiet as a library.
The Angels said they needed to pitch well. But in the fourth, starter Jarrod Washburn was rocked by a Kevin Millar two-run homer and reliever Scot Shields surrendered a three-run homer to Manny Ramirez. Anaheim said it needed to play especially strong defense in this best-of-five series, but third baseman Chone Figgins committed a two-run throwing error on what looked like a simple forceout at the plate.
Back to the drawing board for Game 2.
Anaheim's suspect pitching and defense made it an easy assignment for Curt Schilling as he methodically built on his reputation as a big-game pitcher by boosting the Red Sox to a 9-3 victory in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
Losing Game 1 and winning a series became an Anaheim formula in 2002 when the Angels won a world championship after dropping Game 1 to the Yankees, Twins and Giants.
"Hopefully, we'll follow the same road as we did in '02," Washburn said. "We were relaxed and ready to play this game. We just didn't get it done."
If the Oakland A's were watching, they must have been scratching their heads in amazement. This wasn't the resourceful, opportunistic Anaheim club that had snatched the AL West title from Oakland with a spirited stretch run. The Angels can only take some deep breathes and come back with a fresh outlook Wednesday night as they look to avoid falling into an 0-2 hole before the series shifts to Fenway Park on Friday.
"It was a tough day out there," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's tough to give a team as stacked as they are offensively some extra outs. We did, and they took advantage of every one."
A bit of the crowd's enthusiasm was drained in the early going when David Ortiz singled in a first-inning run and Troy Glaus' leadoff double in the second netted nothing.
But the Angels were still right there until the fourth, when everything went haywire. Washburn walked Ortiz before the Millar homer made it 3-0.
"A daytime home run," Washburn said. "I didn't think it was out, but the ball kept carrying. It was a changeup and I thought I got it down and away. He just did a good job of staying back."
It quickly got worse for Washburn. By the time Jason Varitek singled and Orlando Cabrera walked, Shields was throwing hard in the Anaheim bullpen. Washburn fanned Bill Mueller, but Gabe Kapler singled to load the bases and Johnny Damon rapped a routine grounder to third, prompting Figgins to come home with the ball. The throw sailed wide right and the Red Sox picked up two gift runs to make it 5-0.
"I'm not beating myself up about it," Figgins said. "I played aggressively all day and that's all I can ask for. I wasn't going to turn a double play there with Damon running, so the aggressive play was to go home."
Figgins said an extra hop on the grounder and the path of the runner coming down the line from third were factors in the errant throw.
"I had to take a step back and that sped up the play a little more," Figgins said.
Ramirez put the exclamation point on Boston's big-statement inning by launching a three-run homer to center and Schilling had more than enough runs with which to work. The veteran right-hander wound up going 6 2/3 innings and allowing three runs on nine hits.
The seven-run fourth marked the most runs Anaheim has allowed in its postseason history.
Schilling did surrender homers to Glaus and Darin Erstad. But, typical of Schilling, both homers came with nobody on base. The loss took some of the luster off big offensive days from Glaus and Erstad, who combined for six of the nine Anaheim hits. Glaus went 3-for-3 with three extra-base hits while Erstad was 3-for-4.
Now, the Angels need for others in their lineup to take their cues from Glaus and Erstad.
"This series is going to be a dogfight," Anaheim shortstop David Eckstein said. "We have to find a way to win Game 2 and we'll be giving it everything we've got. We didn't want to be in this situation, but the good thing is that we've been there before and we know we can take a series after losing Game 1.
"We're still a very confident club that's going to forget this game and come back ready to play hard tomorrow. That approach has served us well in the past and we're confident that it will again."
|Troy Glaus got the Angels' first run with a homer to left off Curt Schilling. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Robert Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.