Top 9: Shields seeking shelter

October 01, 2008 - 6:08 pm
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After Jed Lowrie hit a leadoff single to the opposite field to start the ninth, Jason Varitek dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt down the first-base line. Varitek had just two sacrifices this year during the regular season, and has 38 in his career. He had one prior sacrifice in the postseason, in the 1999 League Championship Series against the Yankees. The strategy worked perfectly, moving Lowrie into scoring position for Jacoby Ellsbury, who promptly shot a run-scoring single to right to give the Sox a 3-1 lead. Ellsbury then proceed to steal second, advance to third on a groundout, and score on a David Ortiz 17-hopper that found its way into center field, a byproduct of the shift employed against the Sox slugger.  The two runs came against Angels reliever Scot Shields, an otherwise untouchable writer who gets raked by the Sox. His worst ERA against any non-Sox team (minimum: 10 innings) is a still-svelte 3.47 mark against the A's. But against the Sox, he has an almost inexplicable 7.26 ERA in 31 regular-season innings.