Martinez back on track

Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Pedro Martinez did his part, the bullpen did theirs and now the Boston Red Sox are heading home with a big lead in the AL playoffs.

Martinez rebounded from a wretched September by pitching seven effective innings and Manny Ramirez hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly that sent the wild-card Red Sox over the Anaheim Angels 8-3 Wednesday night for a 2-0 edge.

With two wins at Angel Stadium, the Red Sox will try to sweep the best-of-five matchup on Friday at Fenway Park. Bronson Arroyo can put Boston back in the AL championship series when he starts against Kelvim Escobar.

Angels reliever Francisco Rodriguez, who won a record-tying five postseason games two years ago to help Anaheim win the World Series, threw a wild pitch that set up Ramirez's sacrifice fly in the seventh for a 4-3 lead.


Boston broke it open in the ninth. Ramirez doubled, Trot Nixon hit an RBI single and Orlando Cabrera lined a three-run double off Brendan Donnelly.

Martinez lost his final four starts last month. But a day after Curt Schilling won with 6 2-3 innings, Martinez went even a bit longer.

He gave up three runs and six hits, striking out six and walking two. He retired his last seven batters and left after 116 pitches.

Mike Timlin took over in the eighth with a one-run lead, gave up a single to Darin Erstad and struck out Vladimir Guerrero.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona then summoned Mike Myers, who struck out Garret Anderson. Next up, Keith Foulke relieved and fanned Troy Glaus to end the inning.

Foulke finished up in the ninth for a save.

Rally Monkeys were everywhere in the last two innings -- on the scoreboard and in the stands. But the Angels couldn't score after the Red Sox took the lead.

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