Erick Aybar knocks in the winning run for the Angels to keep their postseason hopes alive.

Erick Aybar’s single in the 12th inning scored Mike Napoli from second base to give the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim a 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox in front of 39,067 at Fenway Park to keep their postseason hopes alive.

With the win the Angels ended an 11-game losing to streak to the Red Sox and postseason and cut the lead to 2-1 in the best-of-5 ALDS.

Javier Lopez took over for Jonathan Papelbon in the top of the 12th and gave up a leadoff single to Napoli. Howie Kendrick sacrificed Napoli over to second and Aybar followed with a single to easily score Napoli from second to put the Angels up 5-4.

Jered Weaver was out for his second inning of relief in the bottom of the 12th and walked David Ortiz. He then settled in though as he got Kevin Youkilis to fly out to center, struck out Jason Bay and got Alex Cora to ground out to give the Angels another day of baseball in Boston.

Despite 6 strikeouts, Josh Beckett wasn't his usual October self.

Despite 6 strikeouts, Josh Beckett wasn't his usual October self.

Josh Beckett wasn’t his normal October self. He struggled with his command and location early on and while he showed flashes of brilliance, he just didn’t have it tonight. He went 5 innings, allowing 4 runs on 9 hits and 4 walks while fanning 6 on 106 pitches.

Despite Lopez giving up the winning run, the Red Sox bullpen was outstanding. Actually both bullpens were great. Manny Delcarmen went 1 2/3 innings, allowing a hit and had strikeout while Hideki Okajima allowed a hit in his inning of work. Justin Masterson gave up a hit and had a strikeout in his 1 1/3 innings. Jonathan Papelbon gave the Red Sox 2 innings out of the pen, allowing 1 hit and a walk while striking out 3.  Lopez went an inning, giving up 3 hits and a run while striking out 1.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Youk led the Red Sox offense with 2 hits each. Ellsbury knocked in 3 runs and Youk had the other RBI. Big Papi was 0-for-3 but was walked 3 times. Jed Lowrie, Jason Varitek and Coco Crisp had the other hits for the Red Sox. Coco added a stolen base as well.

Chone Figgins took the first pitch he saw from Beckett and laced a ground rule double down the right field line. Beckett came back to strike out Garrett Anderson and Mark Teixeira but then issued a walk to Vladimir Guerrero. Torii Hunter followed with an infield single to load up the bases. Beckett then forced in a run as he walked Juan Rivera to put the Halos up 1-0. The inning ended as Napoli grounded into a fielder’s choice.

The Red Sox went quietly in the bottom half of the 1st with only Dustin Pedroia reaching when he was hit by a Joe Saunders pitch.

Beckett got the first two outs of the 2nd before Figgins connected on a single. With Anderson at the plate, Figgins stole second and Beckett ended up walking Anderson. Teixeira ended up grounding into a fielder’s choice for the final out.

Coco Crisp claps after scoring in the 2nd inning.

Coco Crisp claps after scoring in the 2nd inning.

Saunders started the 2nd by getting Bay to fly out and he struck out Mike Lowell. He then walked Lowrie and Varitek followed with a single. A walk to Coco loaded the bases up for Ellsbury. Saunders got Ellsbury to pop the ball up but it ended up falling between 3 Angels and all 3 runners came across the plate to score and put the Red Sox up 3-1.

Vlad took the first pitch he saw in the 3rd inning from Beckett and lined it down the third base line for a double. Beckett struck out Hunter and got Rivera to foul out. With Napoli at the plate, Vlad stole third but it wouldn’t matter as Napoli absolutely crushed a 2-run home run over the Green Monster to tie the game up at 3. Beckett struck out Kendrick for the third out.

Saunders worked around a 1-out walk to Youk in the bottom of the inning as he left him stranded at first base.

Figgins picked up his third hit of the night with a 1-out single in the 4th. After an Anderson fly out, Teixeira reached on an infield single as Beckett missed the base with the tag. He walked Vlad to load up the bases but got out of the jam by getting Hunter to ground into a fielder’s choice.

Lowrie led off in the 4th with a single but was quickly retired when Varitek grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Crisp grounded out to end the inning.

After Beckett struck out Rivera to start the 5th inning, Napoli followed with his second home run of the night to put the Angels up 4-3. Kendrick then had his first hit of the series, a single, but Beckett got Aybar to fly out and finished his night with a strikeout of Figgins.

Ellsbury started things with a leadoff double in the bottom of the 5th. Saunders then got Pedroia to foul out to Napoli and struck out Big Papi. Youk tied the game at 4 as his double scored Ellsbury from second. Saunders then walked Bay and that ended his night as the Angels went to their bullpen for Jose Arredondo. He came in and struck out Lowell on a called strike three.

Delcarmen took over for Beckett in the 6th and set the Angels down in order as did Arredondo with the Red Sox in the bottom half of the inning.

Hunter struck out to start the 7th and Delcarmen got Rivera to ground out for the second out. Delcarmen then hit Napoli with a pitch and Kendrick followed with a single as Napoli stopped at second.  Okajima came in and got Aybar to ground into a fielder’s choice for the final out of the inning.

Jacoby Ellsbury reacts after being caught stealing at second base.

Jacoby Ellsbury reacts after being caught stealing at second base.

Ellsbury led off the bottom half with walk. Arredondo got Pedroia to fly out to center and then gave way to Darren Oliver. With Big Papi at the plate, Ellsbury tried to steal second but he overslid the bag and was tagged out by Aybar. Big Papi ended up walking and once again the Angels went to their bullpen, this time for Scot Shields who struck out Youk to leave Big Papi stranded at first.

Okajima got the first two outs of the 8th inning before a single off the glove of a diving Teixeira chased him from the game. Masterson came in and struck out Vlad to end the inning.

Shields was back out in the 8th as well and he got Bay to fly out to left and Lowell to ground out for the first two outs and struck out Lowrie on 3 pitches.

Hunter led off the 9th with a single but Bay’s throw was right on the money to nail him sliding into second for the first out. Masterson got the last two outs of the inning on ground outs.

J.D. Drew pinch-hit for Varitek in the bottom of the 9th and was struck out by Shields. Coco flew out to center for the second out and Ellsbury got one off the end of the bat that was caught by Gary Matthews in right.

Francona went to Papelbon to start the 10th and Kendrick tried to bunt his way on but it went too far and Lowell got him at first. Aybar grounded back to Papelbon for the second out and he struck out Figgins looking for the third out.

Francisco Rodriguez took over in the bottom half and struck out Pedroia to start things. KRod walked Big Papi and gave up a single to Youk but struck out Bay for the second. He then walked Lowell to load up the bases. Alex Cora came in to pinch-run for Lowell but Lowrie flew out to right for the third out.

Papelbon was back out for the 11th and struck out Anderson for the first out. He walked Teixeira and gave up a single to Vlad but got Hunter to fly out and struck out Matthews to avoid any damage.

Weaver took over in the 11th for the Angels and struck out pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay. Coco followed with a single but Weaver struck out Ellsbury looking for the second out. With Pedroia at the plate, Coco stole second but Pedroia grounded out to third on a great stop by Figgins to end the inning.

The Red Sox will now look to their ace of 2008, Jon Lester, to close things out against John Lackey and the Angels. First pitch is scheduled for 8:37 PM.

Notes and musings:

Angels @ Red Sox ALDS Game 10.5.08 boxscore

Red Sox Hall of Famer Jim Rice

Red Sox Hall of Famer Jim Rice

Red Sox Hall of Famer and NESN Analyst Jim Rice threw out tonight’s ceremonial first pitch.

Country music recording artist Ashley Gearing sang tonight’s National Anthem.

Coming into tonight, Jason Bay, Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz, and Kevin Youkilis have hit safely in both games of this series.

Coming into tonight, Ellsbury has 3 stolen bases in this series, 2 shy of the ALDS mark by Kenny Lofton in 1996.

Friday marked the 1st time that the Red Sox have won a post-season game in their final at bat since October 5, 2007, Game 2 of the ALDS when Manny Ramirez’ 3-run homer in the bottom of the 9th off Francisco Rodriguez gave Boston a 6-3 victory at Fenway Park. Friday was Boston’s 1st road playoff victory decided in its final at bat since October 12, 1986, Game 5 at Anaheim, when the Sox scored in the top of the 11th for a 7-6 win over the California Angels.

J.D. Drew connected for his 5th career post-season homer, 3rd in Division Series play, in the 9th inning on Friday. That was his 2nd career 3-hit post-season game, the other Game 6 of the 2007 ALCS.

Jason Bay is 5-for-9 with 2 homers and 5 RBI in his 1st 2 career post-season games. Bay is the 1st Red Sox to ever homer in his 1st 2 lifetime playoff games and the 14th player all-time, 1st since Colorado’s Matt Holliday in 2007 and the 1st in the A.L. since Rondell White, 10/1/02 with the Yankees and 10/3/06 with Twins.

On Friday night, Jonathan Papelbon extended his career postseason scoreless string to 17.2 innings in 11 games, the 2nd most career playoff innings without allowing a run behind 20.0 innings for Joe Niekro.

Jacoby Ellsbury’s 3-run single was the first of it’s kind in postseason history.

Big Papi’s 13-game ALDS hitting streak came to an end tonight.