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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:51 p.m., Sunday, October 7, 2007

Baseball: Red Sox use long ball to eliminate Angels

Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. - It turns out pitching to David Ortiz wasn't really the answer for the Los Angeles Angels, either.

The Red Sox designated hitter homered to break a fourth-inning scoreless tie in Game 3 of the AL division series, and Manny Ramirez followed with a home run of his own today to help Boston sweep Los Angeles out of the playoffs with a 9-1 rout.

The Angels walked Ortiz four times in Game 2 on Friday night, only to see Ramirez win it on a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth. Unable to safely pitch around Ortiz, the Angels challenged him in the finale and paid for it.

Los Angeles starter Jered Weaver allowed one hit over the first three innings, but Ortiz hit the second pitch of the fourth out to right field to make it 1-0. Ramirez came up next, and he slammed a 3-2 pitch to the edge of the center field rocks, pausing and posing as it bounced around.

It was the first time this season that the two Red Sox sluggers hit back-to-back homers.

But they've done plenty of damage separately — especially in the playoffs.

Ortiz's homer was his second of the series and the ninth of his postseason career, a Red Sox franchise record. Ramirez's shot was his second of this postseason and his 22nd career playoff homer, tying Bernie Williams for the all-time record.

Ortiz had three game-winning hits in the 2004 playoffs, including a 10th-inning homer in Game 3 to eliminate the Angels in the first round. Ramirez was the MVP of the World Series as Boston ended its 86-year championship drought.

But the Red Sox had been waiting all season for them to click as a 1-2 punch, as Ortiz fought off knee and shoulder problems and Ramirez had the worst full season of his career.

Ramirez hit .296 with 20 homers and 88 RBIs, the first time he hasn't driven in 100 runs since 1997 and his lowest home run total since 1994, when he hit 17 in 290 at-bats.

Before a spectacular September, in which Ortiz hit .396 with nine home runs, he too was having a slightly off year.

But in the playoffs, both sluggers picked up their games. Ramirez hit .375 with four RBIs, and Ortiz went 5-for-7 with six walks, for an on-base percentage of .846.

The two were also in the middle of Boston's seven-run eighth inning.

Julio Lugo drew a leadoff walk and scored on Dustin Pedroia's RBI triple, then Kevin Youkilis hit a sacrifice fly to give the Red Sox a 4-0 lead. Ortiz singled, Ramirez walked and Mike Lowell hit an RBI double to score Ortiz and move pinch-runner Jacoby Ellsbury to third.

Ellsbury scored to make it 6-0, sliding in safely when first baseman Kendry Morales came home on J.D. Drew's infield grounder. Jason Varitek doubled and Coco Crisp singled to put Boston ahead 9-0.