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No relief: Angels bullpen falters late

NEW YORK -- By the time early risers are opening their
morning papers in Los Angeles on Monday, the Angels will just be
getting back to their homes.
Instead of shortening the game, the Angels' bullpen made for a
long, long night.
Scot Shields couldn't hold a one-run lead, and Los Angeles lost
its chance to finish off the Yankees in the Bronx. The Angels
wasted a two-run lead and lost 3-2 Sunday night, so instead of
heading to Chicago for a day off before the start of the AL
championship series, the Angels took a charter flight across the
country in the middle of the night for Game 5 Monday.
At the end of the eighth inning, the Yankee Stadium organist
played "California Here I Come."
Indeed.
"I didn't get the job done," Shields said.
Just hand the ball to relievers, that's all Los Angeles looked
to do.
John Lackey, who wasn't even supposed to be on the mound, did
just that, taking a no-hitter into the fifth as Jarrod Washburn's
emergency replacement and handing a 2-1 lead to Shields in the
sixth.
Shields had pitched two scoreless innings in Game 1, got Derek
Jeter to hit a key groundout with runners at the corners in Game 2,
then threw two more shutout innings in Game 3, getting the win for
a bullpen that was extended to 5 1/3 innings.
With Saturday's rainout, he and the relievers got an extra day
to recover.
Now the Angels must recover.
"Shieldsy was fine," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I
think his stuff was good and he was the guy that we needed to get
out of that jam and finish the inning for us. Unfortunately, they
grabbed the lead."
After Gary Sheffield's two-out RBI single off Lackey pulled New
York to 2-1 in the sixth, Shields came in and retired Hideki
Matsui.
But he allowed Robinson Cano's infield single leading off and
committed the biggest mistake a reliever can make: a walk.
To a slow-footed catcher.
Whose size-12½ right foot turned out to be the difference in the
game.
"My walk really killed us," Shields said.
Pinch-hitter Ruben Sierra singled in the tying run -- "a sinker
low and away and it caught a little bit too much of the plate,"
Shields said.
Then, Derek Jeter hit a two-hopper to third baseman Chone
Figgins, who was playing back. He grabbed the ball, slick from all
the rain that fell during the weekend, and made a one-hop throw to
the first-base side of the plate.
Jorge Posada stepped on it just ahead of Bengie Molina's tag.
"When the throw came in, I thought that we had a good chance to
get him out," Molina said.
He jumped up like bread flying out of a toaster to argue with
plate umpire Alfonso Marquez, and Scioscia came out to argue.
Didn't do any good.
"I thought he was out because I thought he hit me with his
spikes, right on my arm," Molina said. "That's what my first
impression was. These guys, they watched the replay and they told
me that what hit me was the knee, and the foot was already on the
plate. So he was safe."
New York brought in Mr. Automatic, Mariano Rivera, who got six
straight outs his 34th postseason save in 39 chances.
Now it comes down to Game 5, with 21-game winner Bartolo Colon
pitching for the Angels against Mike Mussina, who beat Colon 4-2 in
the opener.
Winner goes to Chicago.
Loser goes to sleep.
"We've got our Cy Young winner going tomorrow," Lackey said,
assuming his teammate will win the award and the game. "We're
going to be just fine."