10/08/2004 11:00 PM ET
Guerrero has grand finale
Game-tying slam shows how 'most valuable' he is
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Even though the Angels lost a heartbreaker to the Red Sox in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Friday, manager Mike Scioscia couldn't help but praise his star outfielder, Vladimir Guerrero. It was Guerrero, after all, who led the Angels to the postseason by hitting .337 with 39 home runs and 126 RBIs.
"Vladimir is the MVP of this league," Scioscia said. "There's no doubt about that. There are so many guys that had great years, but there is nobody that had an impact on a team that won a division than what Vladdy did. He illustrated it by what he did tonight."
What Guerrero did on Friday was show that Game 3 was not over even though the Red Sox had a 6-1 lead after six innings. Seven outs from elimination, Guerrero hit a grand slam off Mike Timlin that tied the score at 6. Guerrero was the 12th player in history to hit a grand slam in a Division Series.
The grand slam was sweet redemption for Guerrero, who was hitting just .125 going into Game 3. Guerrero, who admitted that it was tough playing in his first postseason series, said he was trying to carry the team all by himself.
"I tried to do a lot and I realize that I couldn't. I tried to do what I could do and let somebody else contribute," said Guerrero through his interpreter, first-base coach Alfredo Griffin. "I felt very good that I came through tonight."
With Guerrero coming through in the clutch, the Angels believed Game 3 was theirs to win.
|After years in Montreal, Vladimir Guerrero said he relished his first postseason. (Charles Krupa/AP)
|Grand slams in AL and NL Division Series||Date
Vlad Guerrero, Angels
|Mike Timlin, Red Sox|
Troy O'Leary, Red Sox
|Charles Nagy, Indians|
Jim Thome, Indians
|John Wasdin, Red Sox|
Edgardo Alfonzo, Mets
|Bobby Chouinard, Diamondbacks|
Eddie Perez, Braves
|Rod Beck, Cubs|
Ryan Klesko, Braves
|Matt Karchner, Cubs|
Paul O'Neill, Yankees
|Chad Ogea, Indians|
Devon White, Marlins
|Wilson Alvarez, Giants|
Albert Belle, Indians
|Armando Benitez, Orioles|
Bobby Bonilla, Orioles
|Paul Shuey, Indians|
Edgar Martinez, Mariners
|John Wetteland, Yankees|
Mark Lewis, Reds
|Mark Guthrie, Dodgers|
"When you are down and you hit a grand slam like that, the momentum changed and we thought we had a good chance to win the game," Guerrero said.
Said teammate Darin Erstad, "We never concede a game. Crazy things happen in baseball. We know the Red Sox have a great bullpen, but we knew weren't going to roll over and die. When [Guerrero] hit it, we smelled blood. We were going for it."
The Angels had chances to score the go-ahead run in the ninth and 10thg innings, but couldn't get the job done before Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to win the game, 8-6, and help the Red Sox advance to the American League Championship Series.
As Ortiz was rounding the bases, Guerrero walked very slowing to the Angels dugout thinking what might have been.
"I felt sad. We had a chance to win it. If things had went our way earlier, we would have won this game," Guerrero said. "We didn't win it and we could do nothing about it."
For the Series Guerrero hit .167 (2-for-12) with the home run and six RBIs. When asked what it was like to make his first postseason appearance after all those years with the Expos, Guerrero said, "I felt pretty good after being in the National League all these years and not being close to the postseason. I felt very privileged. It was a good experience."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.