ANAHEIM, Calif. -- No matter how much the Angels dominate Boston during the regular season, they can't beat the Red Sox in October.
Jason Bay hit a two-out, two-run homer off Los Angeles ace John Lackey in the sixth inning, and the Red Sox beat the Angels 4-1 Wednesday night in the opener of their first-round AL playoff series.
"I think we proved a lot," Bay said.
The Angels won eight of nine regular-season games between the teams this year, outscoring the Red Sox 42-17 in the final six. But the Red Sox have won 10 straight postseason games against the Angels dating to 1986, including first-round sweeps in 2004 and 2007 en route to World Series titles.
The World Series champion Red Sox tied a major league record for consecutive postseason wins over the same opponent, a mark Oakland set against the Red Sox from 1988-2003.
Acquired in the three-team trade that sent Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers two months ago, Bay brought Boston back from a 1-0 deficit in the first postseason game of his career, and the Red Sox got a big start from John Lester (1-0), who allowed only an unearned run in seven innings.
"We had some chances early, and couldn't get some hits to fall in," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Lester was on his game. He's having a terrific year. He's got a great arm and his velocity was up a bit from earlier in the year and he was able to get the fastball on both sides of the plate."
While just four of 28 teams to lose NL division series openers have come back to win series, it's been an even 14-14 split in the AL, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"We expect to go out and win every game, even though that's not the way it always works out," the Angels' Gary Matthews Jr. said. "You never go into a game expecting to lose. Santana's had an outstanding year for us, pitched with poise and confidence all year and he was a completely different pitcher than he was the year before."
There were plenty of dramatic moments in the opener.
"I thought he had no chance. It just looked like it was in no-man's land," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.
"Vlad is aggressive, and it was a tough read, and it was behind him, and I thought he thought the ball was a little further out there than it was," Scioscia said. "And give Youkilis credit. He maintained his composure, got the hop and made a good throw to third base."
Hunter said he was surprised Guerrero tried to go from first to third on the play.
"Vladdy was aggressive. That's what we've been known for, but sometimes you have to be kind of smart," Hunter said. "Sometimes it's good to be aggressive, and sometimes it's bad to be aggressive. But Vladdy is Vladdy. He thought he could make it, but it just didn't work out."
The Angels had broken on top with an unearned run in the third on Hunter's two-out, RBI single. Garret Anderson hit a one-out single and, after Teixeira struck out, rookie shortstop Jed Lowrie muffed Guerrero's grounder before Hunter lined a 1-2 pitch to left that dropped in front of Bay.
Lowrie, making his postseason debut, set a major league record for rookie shortstops by handling 155 chances without an error in 49 games at that position during the regular season.
"I just rushed a little bit, I think I was trying to flip the ball to second before I fielded it," Lowrie said. "It kind of looked for a while there like it might be the difference."
Bay hit an 0-1 pitch far over the left-field fence with Youkilis aboard. He flipped his bat as he began his home run trot upon leaving the batter's box, long before the ball landed in the seats beyond the double-decker bullpen.
"He left a fastball up, and I hit it," Bay said.
Lester got the Game 1 assignment after Josh Beckett was pushed back to Game 3 because of an oblique problem. He retired his final seven batters, striking out four, and only one outfielder had a putout during his stint. Lester struck out seven and walked one.
"Early he established his fastball in," Francona said. "Once we got the lead, he really went after 'em. He came with a vengeance and struck out the side."
The Angels, who wrapped up the AL West title with 2 1/2 weeks left in the regular season, finished with a franchise-best 100-62 record that was tops in the majors. But they lost for the eighth time in 10 postseason home games since winning the 2002 World Series.
Lackey, who won Game 7 of that World Series, allowed two runs and four hits in 6 2/3 innings with three walks and five strikeouts.
"John pitched a terrific ballgame and certainly gave us a chance to win," Scioscia said. "He didn't make many bad pitches tonight."
Ortiz extended his hitting streak in AL division series games to 12 with his ninth-inning single. ... Hall of Famer Rod Carew, who celebrated his 63rd birthday Wednesday, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Teixeira was 2-for-4 in the first postseason game of his career. ... Ellsbury had three hits, stole a base and scored a run. He also reached when Matthews misplayed his seventh inning drive to right for a three-base error.