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If you thought it was 2003, not many people can blame you. Josh Beckett (1-0) dominated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim with another complete game shutout, the third of his postseason career. It was also the first for the Boston Red Sox since 1975, when Luis Tiant accomplished the feat.

 

“[Beckett] went out there and executed pitches, in my opinion, probably better than he has at any point of the season,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona in the press conference after the game. “He attacked the strike zone with all of his pitches -- cut his fastball. He pounded the strike zone with three great pitches.”

 

Beckett struck out eight hitters, walked none, and only gave up four hits to an Angels lineup that finished fourth in the American League in runs scored this year. He was consistently hitting in the upper 90’s with his fastball and spotting his amazing curveball.

 

His cause was helped with a pair of long balls. Kevin Youkilis hit a solo home run in the first inning, while David Ortiz went deep in the third. Mike Lowell had an RBI single, as well.

 

John Lackey (0-1), the Angels starter, had an ERA of over 7.60 in his career at Fenway Park, and his bad pitching continued. He allowed four earned runs over six innings, striking out only four.

 

Offensively, Vladimir Guerrero, filling in as the DH due to a sore tricep muscle, went 2-for-4. Chone Figgins and Howie Kendrick contributed the other two hits.

 

About the only good thing the Angels can take away from this game was the performance of starting pitcher turned reliever Ervin Santana. Santana, who has a notoriety for pitching much better at home than on the road, tossed two perfect innings against a strong lineup. This might bode well for his chances to pitch more in future games.

 

Game two will be played Friday night, as the Red Sox to have the longer schedule for their ALDS. They were given the choice by virtue of having the best record in the AL. Expected starters are Kelvim Escobar (0-0) for the Angels and Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-0) for the Red Sox.

 

Player of the Game

SP Josh Beckett – The Red Sox ace went nine innings, shutting out a very good lineup. His command may have been a little off at times, but he was effectively wild. It was the third shutout of his career, which tied him for second place all time.