So the Rays are the most successful playoff team in history....they've won 100% of their playoff series. And they won it on merit, they were by far the better team. Today, Andy Sonnastine had a nice start going 5.2, allowing only 3 hits (2 of which were solo homers) and 1 walk. Their bullpen has been amazing all season and were no different today, J.P. Howell and Grant Balfour pitched the last 3.1 innnigs only allowing 1 hit and 1 walk.
Offensively BJ Upton hit 2 solo homers and he, Iwamura and Pena, the top of the Ray's batting order were 7 for 14 with 3 runs and 4 RBI. Former Jay Gabe Gross went 0 for 3 with a walk. Eric Hinske spent the game on the bench again.
For the Sox, Gavin Floyd, had a rough start, 3 innings and 4 earned runs, giving up both of Upton's home runs. Clayton Richard, for the second time in this short playoff round, did a good job in long relief, going 3 innings allowing only 1 run. I'd have to think that Richard will get a shot at the Sox' starting rotation next year.
Offensively the Sox again didn't do near enough, only getting 4 hits, with Konerko and Dye hitting solo shots in a losing cause. Griffey had a poor series and poor game, striking out 3 times today to give him 5 strike outs in 10 at bats with only 2 hits. Orlando Cabrera and Jim Thome each went 0 for 4 today and hit just .125 for the series. Former Jay Dwayne Wise went 0 for 2 before being pinch hit for, he had 2 hits ( a double and a homer) in 7 at bats.
A much more exciting game, so of course I had to be out tonight and didn't get to watch it. Jon Lester was terrific pitching 7 shut out innings and giving up just 4 hits, 2 walks and 4 strike outs. But Hideki Okajima and Justin Masterson combined to give up the 2 tying runs in the 8th. Fortunately the for the Sox the Angels blew a suicide squeeze in the top of the 9th. Perhaps a moment of over managing, with a runner on third and 1 out Willie Aybar missed the ball on a bunt attempt and Varitek ran down Willits trying to get back to third. Tek dropped the ball after diving to make the tag, but watching the replay it was obvious that he didn't drop the ball entil he hit the ground after the tag. But it did bring Sciosia out of the dugout to argue.
In the bottom of the 9th the Sox got the winning run when Lowrie singled home Jason Bay from second with 2 out. Bay had a great series in his first chance in the postseason, he hit .412 in the 4 games with 2 homers.
John Lackey had a good start for the Angels pitching 7 innings, with 7 hits and 2 earned runs. Scot Shields pitched a quick 8th but gave up the winning run in the 9th, but considering he pitched 2 innings yesterday he must have been tiring.
So the next round of the playoffs is all set, Red Sox and Rays in what should be a heck of a series. The Sox will be without Lowell and they must be wondering what they will get from Josh Becket too. In the NL it is Phillies and Dodgers which could be a lot of fun too. I'll post the winner of the first round playoff pool tomorrow and get a pool up for the next round of the playoffs.