Jason Bay slides in with the winning run to send the Red Sox to the ALCS

Jed Lowrie’s walk-off single in the bottom of the 9th inning with 2 outs scored Jason Bay from second base to give the Red Sox a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels and send them to the ALCS for the second straight season.

Scot Shields was back on for his second inning of relief in the 9th and struck out J.D. Drew to start things. Bay followed with a ground rule double off the end of his bat that Reggie Willits just missed when he dove for it. Had that ball not bounced into the stands, Bay may have had an inside-the-park home run. Mark Kotsay came up and lined a shot down the right field line but a great diving catch by Mark Teixeira kept the score tied. Lowrie then followed with the game-winner to send 38,785 frozen fans at Fenway Park into a frenzy.

If they gave MVP's for this series, Jon Lester would have been my MVP.

If they gave MVP's for this series, Jon Lester would have been my MVP.

Jon Lester started this game for the Red Sox and once again showed why he was the ace of 2008 for the Red Sox. He went 7 scoreless innings allowing just 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4 on 109 pitches. Hideki Okajima went 2/3 of an inning with a walk and was charged with a run. Justin Masterson went 2/3 of an inning, allowing an unearned run on a walk and a hit. Manny Delcarmen was perfect in his 2/3 of an inning to pick up the win.

Bay and Lowrie led the Red Sox offense with 2 hits apiece with Lowrie adding that game winning RBI. Dustin Pedroia broke out of his funk with an RBI double and Jacoby Ellsbury drove in the other run. The only members of the Red Sox starting nine without hits were Ellsbury and Kevin Youkilis.

Both Lester and Angels starter John Lackey set the side down in order in the 1st inning.

Lester got the first two outs of the 2nd before he issued a walk to last night’s Angels hero Mike Napoli. Juan Rivera followed with a single but Lester rebounded to strike out Howie Kendrick for the third out.

Lackey struck out Youk to start the bottom half of the inning. Drew laced a single to left and Bay worked a walk but Lackey got Kotsay to ground into a 4-6-3 inning-ending twin killing.

Erick Aybar grounded out to start the 3rd. Chone Figgins followed with a single and Lester got Garrett Anderson to ground out with Figgins advancing to second. Lester walked Teixeira but got Vladimir Guerrero to ground out for the final out of the inning.

The Red Sox went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 3rd as did the Angels in the top half of the 4th.

Pedroia’s 0-for continued as he grounded out to start the inning and Big Papi followed with a single. Lackey got a ground ball from Youk but Figgins throw pulled Kendrick off the bag and everyone was safe. Drew’s fly ball moved Big Papi to third but Bay flew out to end the threat.

Lester worked around two singles in the top half of the 5th and the Red Sox finally broke through in the bottom half.

Dustin Pedroia ended his 0-for with an RBI double.

Dustin Pedroia ended his 0-for with a RBI double in the 5th.

Kotsay got things going with a leadoff single. After a Lowrie fly out, a well executed hit-and-run with Varitek got Kotsay over to third. Lackey got a ground ball out of Ellsbury but a bobble by Kendrick allowed Kotsay to score the first run of the game to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead as Ellsbury was out at first. Pedroia finally broke out of his ALDS funk and lined a double off the Green Monster to score the Captain and put the local nine up 2-0. Pedroia was left stranded at second as Big Papi grounded back to Lackey for the final out.

Lester once again set the Angels down in order in the 6th and Lackey worked around a two out single by Bay to head to the 7th with the Red Sox leading 2-0.

The Angels would go quietly in the top half of the 7th as Lester would end his night by getting Aybar to fly out to Ellsbury in center.

Lowrie led off the bottom of the 7th with a single and instead of bunting with Varitek, they let him swing away and Tek flew out to center. The inning would end as Ellsbury grounded into a 6-3 double play.

Okajima took over for Lester in the 8th and got two ground outs to second before he walked Teixeira. Masterson came in and after getting ahead of Vlad 0-2, threw 4 straight balls for a walk. Masterson then got crossed up with Varitek with Hunter at the plate and the ball went to the backstop allowing the runners to move up. It proved costly as Hunter stroked a single to right field scoring both Teixeira and Vlad to tie the game up at 2. The inning ended as Napoli flew out to right but the damage had been done.

Shields took over Lackey in the 8th and struck out 2 of the 3 batters he faced to send this game to the 9th tied at 2.

Jason Varitek tags out Reggie Willits on a failed suicide squeeze bunt.

Jason Varitek tags out Reggie Willits on a failed suicide squeeze bunt.

Masterson came back out for the top of the 9th and gave up a leadoff double to pinch-hitter Kendry Morales. Willits came in to pinch-run for Morales went to third on a Kendrick sacrifice bunt. Delcarmen came in and with Aybar at the plate, they tried a suicide squeeze but Aybar missed it and Willits got tagged out by Varitek at third. Aybar grounded out to end the inning.

Notes and musings:

Angels @ Red Sox ALDS Game 3 10.6.08 boxscore

Former Red Sox outfielder Troy O’Leary threw out tonight’s ceremonial first pitch.

Local Boston recording artist Sabreen Staples sang the National Anthem.

In Boston’s last 6 post-season games, Papelbon has pitched 9.1 scoreless innings with a win and 4 saves.

Jacoby Ellsbury’s 3 doubles are one shy of the Division Series record for a series of any length, accomplished 8 times, last by the Yankees Derek Jeter in 2006. He has 3 stolen bases in this series, 2 shy of the ALDS mark by Kenny Lofton in 1996.

At 5:19, it was the longest game by time in ALDS history…The previous record was 5:12, Seattle at New York on October 4, 1995, Game 2 (15 inn.). It was the 2nd longest post-season game by time in Red Sox history to 5:49, on October 18, 2004, Game 5 of the ALCS vs. the Yankees at Fenway Park (14 inn).

At 12 innings, it was the longest post-season game by innings since Game 3 of the 2005 World Series, when the White Sox and Astros went 14 innings at Houston. It was Boston’s longest playoff game since that 14-inning contest in Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS.

The 2 teams combined to leave 27 men on base (16-LAA; 11-BOS), an ALDS record for an extra inning game. The previous mark was 25 by Oakland and Boston on October 1, 2003, Game 1 at Oakland (12 inn).

David Ortiz walked 3 times on Sunday, one shy of the DS record for a game that he shares with Bernie Williams.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Kevin Youkilis have hit safely in all 3 games of this series.

Paul Byrd, Sean Casey, and Tim Wakefield have yet to see DS action.