Angels rally in ninth-inning to knock out BoSox; Yanks sweep

BOSTON — Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-out, two-run single off Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning and the Los Angeles Angels rallied past Boston 7-6 in Game 3 Sunday, advancing to the AL championship series with their first postseason sweep in franchise history.

The Red Sox intentionally walked Torii Hunter with runners on second and third to bring up Guerrero, a star who had long been waiting for a big October hit. Guerrero capped the three-run comeback with his go-ahead hit off Papelbon, who had never before allowed a run in the postseason.

The Angels open their first ALCS since 2005 on Friday against either the New York Yankees or Minnesota. The Yankees led that series 2-0 going into Game 3 Sunday night.

The Angels joined the Los Angeles Dodgers, who beat St. Louis, with first-round sweeps. The victory kept open the possibility of a Freeway Series — this is the first time the Angels and Dodgers are in the league championship series in the same year.

Down 5-1 early and still trailing 6-4 in the ninth, the Angels began their rally when Erick Aybar singled on a two-strike pitch. Chone Figgins walked and Bobby Abreu hit an RBI double for the first postseason run Papelbon had allowed.

After Hunter was walked intentionally, Guerrero, who had one RBI in his previous 19 postseason games, singled sharply to center on the first pitch.

Major league saves leader Brian Fuentes pitched a perfect ninth. Darren Oliver got one out and the win.

Yankees 4, Twins 1

At Minneapolis, Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada hit seventh-inning home runs to spoil Carl Pavano's opportunity to frustrate New Yorkers one more time, and the Yankees advanced to their first AL championship series in five years.

Mariano Rivera closed out Game 3 — the last baseball game at the Metrodome — to preserve Andy Pettitte's record-tying 15th career postseason win.

Game 1 of the ALCS against the Los Angeles Angels will be at Yankee Stadium on Friday night. The teams were 5-5 against each this season with the Yankees winning three of the final four games. The Angels swept Boston earlier in the day.

Phillies 6, Rockies 5

At Denver, Brad Lidge stranded runners at first and second base on a bitterly cold night when he got Troy Tulowitzki to fly out to shallow left field, giving the Phillies' a 2-1 lead in their National League division series.

Huston Street allowed Ryan Howard's sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth that scored Jimmy Rollins with the tiebreaking run after another apparent blown call by the umpires.

The temperature when Rockies right-hander Jason Hammel threw his first pitch at 8:08 p.m. MDT was a crisp 35 degrees.

The defending World Series champs can wrap up this series Monday when they send Game 1 winner Cliff Lee against Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez.

The save was surely sweet redemption for Lidge, who led the majors with 11 blown saves, went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA and briefly lost his job in September.

After Rollins led off the ninth with a single off Street and moved up on Shane Victorino's sacrifice bunt, Chase Utley hit an infield single to put runners at the corners.

The ball appeared to hit Utley's left leg while he was still in the batter's box and should have been ruled a foul ball, but home plate umpire Jerry Meals didn't call the ball dead.

Howard then hit his sacrifice fly.

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