10/09/09 12:57 AM EST
Angels Short Hops: Game 1
Lackey, Hunter shine against Halos' playoff nemesis
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
John Lackey was dominant and Torii Hunter hit a three-run homer to lead the Angels to their first home playoff win since 2005.
Lackey retired Kevin Youkilis in a crucial at-bat in the sixth inning with two runners on and a 3-2 count. Youkilis hit a hard ground ball to third baseman Chone Figgins, who made an athletic play to beat Dustin Pedroia to the bag at third to end a potential rally for the Red Sox, who trailed by three runs at that point.
Four -- Number of walks by Bobby Abreu to tie the Division Series record set by the Red Sox's David Ortiz in 2007. Abreu's biggest walk came in the fifth inning as it set the stage for Hunter's three-run homer off starter Jon Lester. Game balls
Lackey won his first postseason game since Game 7 of the World Series in 2002 by dominating the Red Sox for 7 1/3 innings. The big right-hander allowed just four hits and a walk while striking out four on the night.
Hunter crushed an 0-1 fastball from Lester in the fifth inning to give the Angels a 3-0 lead they wouldn't relinquish. It was Hunter's fourth career postseason home run with all of them coming in Division Series play.
Abreu was a major reason why Lester lasted just six innings on the night as he saw 18 pitches from the left-hander in three plate appearances. He also added his fourth walk of the night against reliever Ramon Ramirez in the seventh inning to tie the Division Series record.
Sense of October
Lackey came out for the eighth inning despite throwing 108 pitches to that point and having a 5-0 lead after the Angels scored two runs in the top of the inning. He allowed a single to J.D. Drew to open the inning before getting former teammate Casey Kotchman to ground out to third base for the first out. Lackey was then removed from the game to a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd at Angel Stadium.
2 AB, 1 H, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP.
Comment: Hunter's three-run home run was all the offense the Angels needed behind Lackey and reliever Darren Oliver, who combined to shut out the high-powered Red Sox offense.
7 1/3 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 4 Ks
Comment: Lackey turned in his best postseason start since he threw seven scoreless against the Twins in the 2002 ALCS. The 7 1/3 innings pitched also set a career-high for him in the playoffs.
"We won one game, we've got to get to three before anything really matters here." -- Lackey
Right-hander Jered Weaver will hope to duplicate Lackey's success in Game 2 at Angel Stadium in a 6:37 p.m. PT start that will be televised on TBS. It'll mark Weaver's first postseason start since 2007 when he allowed two runs on four hits over five innings in a loss against the Red Sox in the ALDS.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.