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Angels sweep Sox with rally in 9th, 7-6

Vladimir Guerrero #27 of the Los Angeles Angels

Vladimir Guerrero #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reacts after hitting a two-run single in the ninth to take the lead against the Boston Red Sox in Game Three of the ALDS. Photo Credit: Getty Images

BOSTON (AP) — Vladimir Guerrero and the Los Angeles Angels shrugged off their postseason failures and swept the Boston Red Sox out of the playoffs.

Guerrero hit a two-out, two-run single off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning and the Angels rallied past Boston 7-6 in Game 3 Sunday, advancing to the AL championship series for the first time since 2005.

Guerrero delivered the biggest hit of his stellar, capping a three-run comeback in the ninth and giving the Angels their first postseason sweep in franchise history.

Papelbon had never allowed a run in the postseason before the Angels tagged him. He was within a strike of ending the game a few times, but couldn’t put it away.

The Red Sox elected to intentionally walk Torii Hunter with runners on second and third to bring up Guerrero.

Los Angeles trailed 5-1 early, was behind 5-2 after seven innings and still down 6-4 when Papelbon retired the first two batters of the ninth. But Erick Aybar singled, Chone Figgins walked and Bobby Abreu singled in one run — Papelbon had not been charged with a run in 26 postseason innings entering the game.

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

Major league saves leader Brian Fuentes pitched a perfect ninth for Los Angeles. Dustin Pedroia popped it up to Aybar for the final out, with the shortstop pumping his right arm even as he tracked the ball with his left.

The AL West champion Angels came streaming out of the dugout. Jered Weaver joined his teammates on-field waving the jersey of Nick Adenhart, who was killed in an April car crash with a man who has been charged with drunken driving.

The crowd that just one inning earlier had been primed for a celebration quietly filed out of Fenway Park for the last time in 2009, having seen the wild-card Red Sox beaten.

Darren Oliver earned the victory after getting one out in relief, and Papelbon took his first career postseason loss. The Red Sox closer had saved seven of his previous eight postseason games and had not allowed a run in 26 innings when he came to the mound on Sunday.

Juan Rivera greeted Papelbon with a two-out, two-run single in the eighth to pull the Angels close.

The Angels open the AL championship series on Friday against either the New York Yankees or Minnesota. The Yankees led that series 2-0 going into Game 3 Sunday night.

New York Sports