Angels blank Red Sox, move one game up over idle A's

BOSTON (AP) -- The Los Angeles Angels showed a little emotion and
escaped Boston with their AL West lead intact.

Paul Byrd combined with two stomach-churning relievers to shut
out the Red Sox 3-0 on Thursday night, avoiding a sweep. Los
Angeles manager Mike Scioscia and hitting coach Mickey Hatcher were
ejected -- Scioscia for the second straight night.

"I think we feed off that," said Byrd, who allowed four hits
in seven innings before Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez each
pitched out of bases-loaded jams. "These games count. That
[emotion] is the way it should be."

Los Angeles, which moves on to play the Central-leading Chicago
White Sox, opened a one-game lead over idle Oakland in the AL West
after losing the first two games of the series.

Despite getting shut out for the fourth time this year, the Red
Sox maintained a four-game lead in the AL East over the
second-place Yankees, who lost to Tampa Bay 7-4. The Red Sox open a
three-game series in New York on Friday with the knowledge that
they will still be in first when they leave.

"In the past, we always knew we had to make up ground," center
fielder Johnny Damon said. "Now we need to extend our ground.
Hopefully, that starts tomorrow night."

Scioscia and Hatcher were ejected after Orlando Cabrera was
called out for leaving second base too early on a fly ball. Replays
indicated his foot was still on the base when right fielder Trot
Nixon caught the ball.

Scioscia was ejected on Wednesday night disputing a checked
swing call on David Ortiz.

"We could have fallen apart and felt like everyone was against
us, but we didn't do that," Byrd said. "We could have had the
attitude that we're snakebit, but we didn't."

Byrd (11-9) allowed two walks and struck out four in his second
consecutive win. He retired 13 straight batters before John
Olerud's slow-bouncing infield single to lead off the seventh.

Matt Clement (13-4) allowed three runs and five hits in 6 2/3
innings, walking two and hitting a batter while striking out one.
He had won three straight decisions, but also received no decision
in five other starts since July 16.

Byrd was coasting until Kevin Millar led off the eighth with a
double and Bill Mueller walked. With pinch-hitter Manny Ramirez
coming up, the Angels went to Shields, who gave up a game-ending
homer to David Ortiz on Tuesday.

Shields got Ramirez on a called third strike and then, after
loading the bases by walking Damon, got Edgar Renteria and Ortiz
looking, too.

Rodriguez struck out three for his 35th save, but he also loaded
the bases. He fanned Roberto Petagine on three pitches for the
final out.

"A three-run lead in the Grand Canyon with that club is not a
safe lead," Scioscia said. "But our guys, when they had to, made
terrific pitches."

Clement started with three perfect innings before Chone Figgins
and Orlando Cabrera hit back-to-back doubles to start the fourth
and make it 1-0. Garret Anderson hit a fly ball that Nixon caught
against the wall in foul territory, and Cabrera tagged up to take

But the runner was called out when the Red Sox appealed that he
had left second too early. Scioscia argued briefly but retreated to
the dugout; during the break, Hatcher was ejected by third base
umpire Eric Cooper and became enraged.

Scioscia went onto the field and argued for a while before plate
umpire Marvin Hudson threw him out, too.

"These are big games," said Hatcher, who had to be held back
by outfielder Steve Finley and others. "You can't just sit back on
a call like that. It's crucial."

Clement hit Vladimir Guererro to lead off the seventh, then
Darin Erstad singled him to third. Three straight fielder's choices
scored a pair of runs for a 3-0 lead.

Game notes
Angels RHP Bartolo Colon is still on track to start on
Saturday against the Chicago White Sox. Colon left Sunday's start
in the sixth inning with tightness in his lower back. ... Guererro
joined with Ortiz to pledge $50,000 each to victims of Hurricane
Katrina. ... Ramirez was not in the starting lineup to rest for the
series against the Yankees. Ramirez is 4-for-27 in his last seven
games and has not homered since Aug. 21. ... It's the latest in the
season the Red Sox have led the AL East since they won the division
in 1995. ... Boston has won nine of its last 10 home series. ...
The Red Sox have four of the 22 AL pitchers with 12 or more wins.
... Byrd lost four and had three no-decisions in seven starts
before winning his last two starts.