Thursday, October 2, 2008

Red Sox Ground Angels; Loney Slams Cubs; Hamels a Hero in Philly

Players of the Day from Wednesday, October 1, 2008 American League Boston 4 LA Angels 1 Jason Bay crunched a two-run homer in support of Jon Lester's strong 7 inning performance as the Red Sox won the opener of their playoff series with the Angels, 4-1. Bay's homer lifted the Red Sox from a 1-0 deficit and the Red Sox bullpen kept the Angels off the board for the remainder of the proceedings. Lester, who allowed an unearned run in the second inning, gave up six hits - all singles - and a walk while fanning seven. Boston's win was the 10th straight over the Angels in the playoffs and the 8th straight playoff loss for LA overall. The Angels dominated Boston during the regular season, winning 8 of 9 games. Notes: The series resumes Friday night in Anaheim with Daisuke Matsuzaka on the mound for Boston, facing the Angels' Ervin Santana. National League Philadelphia 3 Milwaukee 1 Cole Hamels was at the top of his game, striking out nine batter and shutting out the Brewers over 8 innings on two hits to lead the Phillies to a 3-1 win over Milwaukee in the opener of their best-of-five playoff series. Brad Lidge, who was named NL comeback player of the year on Monday, came on for the ninth, getting the final three outs on strikeouts, but not before allowing a walk, two hits and the Brewers' only run. Hamels was a strikeout machine, getting Mike Cameron swinging to start the game and Ryan Braun swinging to end the first inning. He fanned Jason Kendall and slugger Prince Fielder twice each. For good measure, Lidge also struck out Fielder with Ryan Braun on 2nd and first base open in the ninth. The Phillies scored all of their runs in the 3rd inning on a Chase Utley 2-run double and a bases loaded walk to Shane Victorino. Though all of the runs were deemed unearned because of second baseman Ricky Weeks' one-out error, starter Brewers' starter Yovani Gallardo struggled through 4 innings, allowing 3 hits while walking 5. The Brewers and Phillies take the field again Thursday night (6:07 pm ET). C.C. Sabathia will start for Milwaukee. Philly sends Brett Myers to the mound. Sabathia has been a stud for the Brewers since coming over in a mid-season trade from Cleveland. He will be pitching on three days rest after a complete game win which clinched the wild card for the Brewers on Sunday. LA Dodgers 7 Chicago Cubs 2 The cloud hanging over the Chicago Cubs for the last 100 years just won't go away. Nursing a 2-0 lead into the fifth inning, starter Ryan Dempster managed to load the bases on walks and with two outs let James Loney take him - and the hopes of thousands of Cubs fans in attendance - out of the park with a grand slam that broke the game open. Loney's blast was just the start for the Dodgers. Manny Ramirez and Russell Martin also homered in the 7th and 9th innings. Casey Blake singled in another run in the 8th. The Cubs had no answers in the Dodgers' 7-2 romp at Wrigley. While the Dodgers had only 8 hits, 5 of them went for extra bases, three of them out of the park. Chicago collected 9 hits, but only two - a double by Aramis Ramirez and Mark DeRosa's second-inning two-run homer - were anything beyond singles. The Cubs can make amends Thursday night (9:07 pm ET) with Carlos Zambrano on the mound to face the Dodgers' Chad Billingsley. After that, it's off to LA for a pair of weekend games and back to Chicago on Tuesday, if necessary. It's been 100 years since the Cubs last won a World Series. On such an auspicious anniversary, they're still a long way from celebrating.

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