Saturday, October 4, 2008

J. D. Downs Angels; J. P. Stops White Sox

Players of the Day from Friday, October 3, 2008 American League Tampa Bay 6 Chicago White Sox 2 The Tampa Bay Rays took a commanding 2-0 lead in their best-of-five series with the White Sox, scoring a 6-2 win Friday night in Tampa. Quality pitching has been a key to the Rays' success all season, proved by the 2 innings of stellar work turned in by middle reliever J. P. Howell. Howell came on in the top of the 7th inning, with the Rays up 3-2. Starter Scott Kazmir had lasted just 5 1/3, and Grant Balfour, who came on with one out in the 6th, ran into trouble, allowing back-to-back singles to Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko leading off the 7th. With the potential lead runs on base, Powell calmly put down the next three batters in order and worked a scoreless 8th as well, allowing only a harmless 2-out single to Orlando Cabrera while striking out the side. After the Rays put up three more runs in the bottom of the frame, Howell's night was complete. Chad Bradford came on to finish off the Sox in the ninth. Howell was 6-1 during the regular season, appearing in 64 games. Over 89 innings, Howell compiled a 2.22 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP and 92 Ks. The Rays and Sox get a day off prior to resumption of their series in Chicago on Sunday. Matt Garza goes for the Rays, facing Chicago's John Danks. Boston 7 LA Angels 5 J. D. Drew snapped a 5-all tie with a 2-run homer in the top of the 9th inning to give the Red Sox a 7-5 win over the Angels and a 2-0 lead in the playoff series. It was the 11th straight win for the Red Sox over the Angels in the post-season. Drew, who managed to end the game on a positive note for the Red Sox, got things started with an RBI double in the first inning and added a single for a 3-for-5 night. The Red Sox are within one win of advancing to the AL Championship Series. Game three is Sunday at Fenway. Boston ace Josh Beckett faces Joe Saunders in a do-or-die game for the Angels. Notes: The National League takes center stage on Saturday as both Philadelphia and the LA Dodgers look to advance. Both hold 2-0 leads in their series, over a pair of NL Central squads, the Brewers and Cubs, respectively.

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