10/04/08 3:10 AM ET
K-Rod's magic runs out against Drew
Decisive shot makes record-setting season an afterthought
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Rodriguez gave up only four home runs during the regular season. The last one came on July 28 against Manny Ramirez in Boston, but the long ball didn't keep Rodriguez from earning his 44th save in a 7-5 Angels victory. This one came with the game tied at 5 and left the Angels down, 2-0, in the series as they go to Fenway Park for Game 3 on Sunday night.Ramirez also hit a three-run walk-off home run off Rodriguez in Game 2 of the ALDS last year at Fenway Park, but Rodriguez allowed only one earned run in his final 20 regular-season games this year. "Frankie has been great all year," second baseman Howie Kendrick said. "J.D. hit a good pitch -- down and [in] -- and he got it. Nobody is at fault. He put a good swing on it and took it out of town. Frankie is a great closer. There's not anybody I'd rather have on the mound." Upon entering the game with two outs and a runner on first in the eighth inning -- the Angels trailing, 5-4 -- Rodriguez retired Dustin Pedroia on a grounder to shortstop. The Halos tied the game in the bottom of the inning, and Rodriguez was still on the mound in the ninth. The first batter was David Ortiz. He hit a long drive to deep right field that sent Reggie Willits back against the wall to attempt a leaping catch. Willits got his glove on the ball, but he couldn't hold it and the ball fell for a double. "I haven't seen the replay, so I'm not sure what happened," said Willits, who pinch-ran for Juan Rivera in the seventh inning before replacing the outfielder in right. "I'm not sure if I mistimed it or the ball hit off the side of my glove." Coco Crisp replaced Ortiz as a pinch-runner at second, and Kevin Youkilis grounded out to third. With Drew up, the Angels tried a pickoff play, but Crisp got back ahead of the tag, much to shortstop Erick Aybar's objections. Rodriguez missed with a fastball, then got Drew to miss two changeups. After a fastball missed, Rodriguez threw one more changeup. "I was just trying to square the ball up," Drew said later. "I got down two strikes and wanted to put the barrel on the ball. It was a changeup, he left it in and I squared it up nice enough to get it out of the park." The ball sailed over the center-field wall for a two-run home run, and the Red Sox had a 7-5 lead. "It happened so fast, but in that situation, I'd go to that [pitch] again," catcher Mike Napoli said. "I'm not going to second-guess that pitch. We know it's a good pitch."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.