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Division Series Game 2
October 6, 2004 • Angel Stadium, Anaheim

Red Sox 8, Angels 3

Box Score

          1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9   R  H  E
___________________________________   _______

Boston    0  1  0  0  0  2  1  0  4   8 12  0
Anaheim   0  1  0  0  2  0  0  0  0   3  7  0

The series continued the next day with Pedro Martinez facing off against Bartolo Colon. The Red Sox held a clear advantage over the Angels in starting pitching, but Anaheim was generally regarded as having the better bullpen. Pitchers like Francisco Rodriguez and Brendan Donnelly were effective against right- and left-handed batters, so they felt confident entering the playoffs with no lefties in their 'pen.

The game started at 10:00 pm Eastern time, which was an outrage to start with. The other playoff games scheduled that day all involved Eastern or Central time zone teams which could have played at 1:00 or 4:00 local time, giving the Sox an earlier timeframe. As it was, though, the schedule-makers at MLB know that the Red Sox audience is loyal enough to watch their games whenever they are, so they took advantage of us and scheduled a late game. It's not a problem for someone like me who stays up past midnight every night, but I did feel bad for the children and older fans who wouldn't be able to stay up till the end of this crucial game, despite having followed the team loyally all year.

For those of us who made it till the end, the game provided plenty of drama. The Red Sox loaded the bases in the first but didn't score. They loaded the bases again with two outs in the second, and a walk to Manny Ramirez plated the first run of the game. The Sox had a chance to break the game open, with David Ortiz due up next, but Mark Bellhorn was inexplicably picked off second base to end the inning. The Angels got the run back in the bottom of the inning on a walk and two singles, but Pedro stranded two runners in scoring position and got out of it without any further damage.

In the fifth, Anaheim finally put some hits together. Two singles and a hit batsman loaded the bases, and Vladimir Guerrero knocked in two runs with a single to center, giving the Angels a 3-1 lead. It started to look like the Red Sox' missed opportunities earlier in the game would be costly.

The Sox didn't wait long to get back in the game. Ortiz led off the sixth with a single, but he was erased when Trot Nixon hit into a double play. But then Kevin Millar walked, and Jason Varitek launched a game-tying home run. In the seventh, the Sox got two runners in scoring position against Fransisco Rodriguez - the Anaheim phenom who was instrumental to their Championship in 2002 - and Manny hit a sac fly to give the Sox a 4-3 edge. I hoped everyone was still awake to watch it!

Pedro was finished after seven innings and 116 pitches. The bullpen took over, and after allowing a lead-off single, Mike Timlin struck out Guerrero. Mike Myers was called upon to face Garret Anderson, and promptly struck him out. Keith Foulke struck out Troy Glaus to end the inning. Entering the series with Anaheim, the media kept predicting that supposed managerial whiz Mike Scioscia would be no match for the inexperienced Terry Francona, but so far Tito was making all the right moves.

The game was still 4-3 - too close for comfort - into the ninth inning, when the Red Sox finally broke it open against Brendan Donnelly. Nixon singled home one run, and then after a walk, a wild pitch, and an intentional walk to load the bases, Orlando Cabrera ripped a double, scoring all three runners. It was 8-3, Red Sox. Now, almost four hours into the game, it was finally getting fun. Foulke returned for the ninth to close out the win. It was 2:00 am Eastern time, but I was too pumped from a very tense, exciting game to be able to sleep. I watched SportsCenter and ESPN News before bed, thinking, "We can sleep in November!"

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