<
>

Wakefield a winner thanks to Ortiz

BOSTON (AP) -- By the time David Ortiz got to the clubhouse, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry was waiting with a plaque commemorating Big Papi's contributions to the team's long-awaited success.

"David Ortiz

"#34

"The greatest clutch hitter in the history of the Boston Red Sox."

As if anyone in Boston -- or Los Angeles -- could forget.

"I'm very happy to publicly declare what almost all of us in
New England already know," Henry said Tuesday night after Ortiz
hit a tie-breaking homer to send the Red Sox to a 3-2 victory over
the Angels, the team he knocked out of the playoffs last fall en
route to Boston's first World Series title in 86 years.

"The truth of it was apparent a while back," said the owner,
who made the presentation with team president Larry Lucchino. "We
had been waiting for an appropriate time to present it to him. I
said tonight to Larry after the home run, 'Let's do it.' He had
been keeping it in his office. I just couldn't wait any longer."

Boston led 2-0 before the Angels tied it with runs in the sixth and seventh. Both teams squandered chances to take the lead, and it was still tied when Scot Shields (8-11) struck out Edgar Renteria to start the ninth.

Ortiz, who struck out with runners on second and third and no outs in the seventh, took three straight balls and fouled off two pitches before hitting one halfway up the grandstand in right. It was his 38th homer of the year and his league-leading 120th RBI.

"You never get tired of it," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "We've seen it so many times. I hope we see it a bunch
more."

Ortiz gave a slight pump of his hand and circled the bases,
ditching his helmet on the way from third so his teammates wouldn't
pound too hard on his head.

It's something he's learned from experience.

"For a minute," Ortiz said, "it gave me a flashback for what
happened last year."

The genial slugger batted .545 in the first-round playoff series last year and homered with two outs in the 10th inning of Game 3 to complete the sweep. He had two more game-ending hits in the AL Championship Series against the New York Yankees.

He has seven walk-off homers in his career.

"It's incredible how he does things the way he does them,"
said Tim Wakefield, who gave Boston its second complete game in
three days. "He's Mr. Clutch. He proved that last postseason. He
did it again tonight for us."

Wakefield (15-10) pitched his second complete game of the season, allowing two runs and eight hits while walking three, two intentionally. He struck out seven to win for the seventh time in
eight starts and give the Red Sox their 22nd win in their last 25
home games.

"We had a chance to get to him tonight, but it seems like he
has an ability to step it up when he gets in trouble, and he did
that tonight" Angels second baseman Adam Kennedy said. "There
aren't many times when you're going to be able to hold that lineup
to two runs that late in the game, so it was frustrating because we
weren't able to get it done."

Boston improved its lead in the AL East to four games ahead of the New York Yankees, who lost 4-3 to Tampa Bay.

Vladimir Guerrero was 2-for-2 and walked twice for Anaheim,
which has lost five consecutive road games and 11 of their last 12
at Fenway Park, including the playoffs. The loss cut the Angels'
lead over Oakland in the AL West to one game.

Angels starter John Lackey allowed three or fewer runs for the
ninth time in 10 starts. He went six innings, giving up two runs
and five hits.

Both Red Sox runs scored in the fifth, when Johnny Damon singled
with one out. Lackey then walked three consecutive batters to let
in one run and threw a wild pitch to make it 2-0. Trot Nixon and
Bill Mueller both grounded out to first to end the inning and add
to Boston's 11 stranded baserunners.

Orlando Cabrera hit a solo homer in the sixth cut the deficit to
one run. The Angels tied it in the seventh when Kennedy doubled
with two outs and scored on Chone Figgins' single.

The Angels got a leadoff double from Bengie Molina in the ninth but couldn't score. Casey Kotchman hit a hard grounder to first that John Olerud stopped to save the run the first time; second baseman Tony Graffanino came home on Steve Finley's grounder to get pinch-runner Zach Sorensen at the plate.

The Red Sox put runners on second and third with no outs in the seventh before Ortiz struck out, Manny Ramirez hit into a fielder's
choice that got the runner at home and Bill Mueller struck out.

Game Notes:
The Angels recalled LHP Joe Saunders and C Jeff Mathis from Salt Lake. ... RHP Kelvim Escobar was activated from the disabled list and made his first relief appearance since May 2003. ... Angels INF Lou Merloni was recalled from rehab but not activated. ... Damon was back in the lineup after missing one game with a sore left shoulder. ... The Red Sox recalled RHP Manny Delcarmen and C Kelly Shoppach from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Comments