BOSTON -- Fielding the Red Sox's 3-2, series-clinching win over the Angels on a short hop ...In < 25 words ...
Jon Lester's dominance, the Angels' flubbed squeeze play and Jed Lowrie's heroics propelled the Red Sox to their second successive American League Championship Series.
Lowrie's sharp grounder rolled past the outstretched glove of second baseman Howie Kendrick and into right field with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, sending Jason Bay home from second and permanently etching the rookie Lowrie's name into Red Sox postseason lore.
14 -- The number of scoreless innings pitched by Lester in this series. That's the most ever for a pitcher with a 0.00 ERA in a Division Series. Game balls
Lester really rose to the challenge of taking over Boston's No. 1 starting role in this series.
He was 0-for-the-ALDS (more specifically, 0-for-15) when he stepped up with a man on second and two out in the fifth. His double off the Green Monster brought the runner home and made it 2-0.
His teammates joked that they have never seen their captain run as fast as he did chasing Reggie Willits up the third-base line after the Angels' attempted squeeze went awry.
Sense of October
You really see the way the Red Sox are accustomed to those tense October moments on a play like that squeeze. Varitek did a nice job mentally preparing pitcher Manny Delcarmen for the squeeze attempt, and his heads-up play when Erick Aybar missed the bunt attempt got the game's most crucial out.
3 AB, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB
Comment: Quite a first postseason series for Bay, who batted .412 (7-for-17) with four extra-base hits and five RBIs. His double off Scot Shields in the ninth set up Lowrie's heroics.
7 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K
Comment: Letting this thing go to a Game 5 in Southern California was a dangerous proposition, and Lester ensured it wouldn't happen with another strong performance at Fenway.
"The sense of accomplishment is pretty great. Everybody talks about winning a playoff series, but you don't realize how much work goes into it until you go through it." -- Lowrie
Bring on the Rays. The battle for supremacy in the AL East came down to the season's final weekend, with the Rays edging the Red Sox by two games. It's a new season now, and a World Series berth is on the line, beginning with Game 1 at 8:37 p.m. ET Friday night at Tropicana Field.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.