Division Series Game 1
October 3, 2007 Fenway Park, Boston
Red Sox 4, Angels 0
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
L.A. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Boston 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 x 4 9 0
Game 1 matched Josh Beckett against John Lackey. Beckett had led the league with 20 wins. Lackey had come close with 19, but his career ERA at Fenway Park was over 7.00. The series got off to a scary start when the speedy Chone Figgins singled to lead off the game. He moved to second on Orlando Cabrera's ground ball, and to third on Vladimir Guerrero's groundout. But luckily for the Red Sox, Garret Anderson, battling a case of conjunctivitis, struck out to end the threat. In the bottom of the first, Dustin Pedroia grounded out in his first postseason at-bat. Kevin Youkilis was next, and he didn't have a lot of postseason experience either. He had been on the Division Series roster in his rookie year of 2004, but had only gotten two at-bats that year. But this time he drove a 2-1 offering from Lackey over the Green Monster to give the Sox an early 1-0 lead. He was followed by two players with plenty of postseason experience - David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez - both of whom singled. They ended up being stranded, but the inning proved that the Sox would be able to break through.
Beckett breezed through 1-2-3 innings in the second (two groundouts and a fly to center) and the third (a groundout, a flyout, and a strikeout). In the bottom of the third, the heart of the Red Sox lineup came to the plate again. Youkilis started it off with a one-out double, and then Ortiz launched a towering shot to right, high over Pesky's Pole but well fair, and it was 3-0 Red Sox. After hitting a franchise-record 54 home runs in 2006, Big Papi had slugged only 35 in '07, but it was good to have him back in postseason form when we needed him. Manny followed with a walk, moved up on a wild pitch, and scored on Mike Lowell's RBI single.
Staked to a 4-0 lead, Beckett cruised through the Angels lineup. He had another 1-2-3 inning in the fourth (strikeout, groundout, strikeout), and in the fifth (popup to short, strikeout, grounder), and again in the sixth (two K's and a sliding catch by Coco Crisp in center). When Guerrero singled with one out in the seventh, he was only the second baserunner of the day for the Angels, and a quick popup and a ground ball made sure he didn't advance any further. It took only twelve pitches for Beckett to dispatch with the Angels in the eighth, despite a one-out single by Howie Kendrick. Beckett was under 100 pitches, so he came back out for the ninth. Jacoby Ellsbury also entered the game as a defensive replacement for Ramirez in left. Sure enough, the first batter of the inning lifted a line drive to left, and Ellsbury raced over and dove to make the catch. A grounder to third was the second out of the inning. There was one more harmless single, and then a fly ball to center ended the game. Beckett's dazzling performance, coupled with an offense led by Youkilis, Ortiz, Ramirez, and Lowell, had dominated the Angels and given the Red Sox a 1-0 series lead.
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