10/13/08 8:00 PM ET
ALCS tidbits: Game 3
Rays shrug at Lester's playoff streak in taking 2-1 lead
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Pulling out the welcome Matt: Matt Garza's ability to keep the Red Sox from scoring for most of his Game 3 start shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone crunching the numbers. Garza had a .218 batting average against with runners in scoring position this season, third best in the AL among pitchers who logged 40 or more innings in that situation. Garza ranked 10th in the Majors in that category.
There goes the neighborhood: When Upton clubbed a three-run homer over the Green Monster and onto Lansdowne Street in the third inning on Monday, he took with it Jon Lester's impressive postseason scoreless-innings streak. Lester had pitched 24 2/3 consecutive innings in the postseason without allowing an earned run, including 14 in the ALDS against the Angels. Carlos Pena's ninth-inning home runs was the Rays' fourth of the game, and it tied the ALCS single-game record, done nine previous times, last by the Red Sox on Saturday in Game 2.
Sour homecoming: Lester's last loss at Fenway Park came on April 9 against the Detroit Tigers, who rapped the lefty for four runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings. Lester went 11-0 in his final 16 home starts in the regular season, the Majors' longest home winning streak since the Twins' Johan Santana was 17-0 in 24 starts from Aug. 6, 2005, to April 2, 2007.
Strong run ends: Red Sox starting pitchers had been 9-0 with a 2.67 ERA in the club's past 13 postseason games. The last defeat by a Boston starter in a playoff game was handed to Tim Wakefield in Game 4 of the 2007 AL Championship Series at Cleveland. The nine-game winning streak by starters was the longest in the postseason since Yankees starters won 10 straight decisions in 1998 and '99.
Game 3 as the key: Since the advent of the best-of-seven LCS in 1985, eight of 12 clubs that won Game 3 have advanced to the World Series. Notably, however, two of the four exceptions have worn Red Sox uniforms -- the Angels beat the Red Sox in Game 3 of the 1986 ALCS but lost to Boston in seven games, and the Indians beat the Red Sox in Game 3 of the 2007 ALCS before losing in seven. In ALCS and NLCS history, the road team that wins Game 3 has won the series 80 percent of the time (8 of 10).
Jon Lester's game-by-game playoff stats
|* -- pitched in relief|
Boston's Back Bay: Playing in his first postseason, Jason Bay is making the most of it. The outfielder, acquired by the Red Sox in July from the Pirates as part of a three-way trade that put Manny Ramirez in a Dodgers uniform, entered play on Monday hitting .440 (11-for-25) with three doubles, three home runs and nine RBIs in six postseason games, then singled in his first at-bat facing Garza in Game 3.
Small state, big bats: With his three-run homer in the eighth inning on Monday off the Red Sox's Paul Byrd, the Rays' Rocco Baldelli became just the fourth native of Rhode Island to homer in a postseason game. The others were Paul Konerko (7), Davey Lopes (6) and Gabby Hartnett (2).
Eight ... not so great: Games 2 and 3 of the ALCS marked the first time in Red Sox postseason history that the club had allowed at least eight runs in successive games.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.