ANAHEIM -- And on the fourth day, Jonathan Papelbon got a rest. It was well-deserved for Boston's closer, who reeled off saves on three consecutive days, the Red Sox winning each game by two runs or less.
It was Papelbon's first three-day, three-save sequence since Sept. 2-4, 2007.
Not only is Papelbon getting results, but he's doing it in dominant fashion.
"Fastball command," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "It's nice when it has some finish to it like it does. Last year when he'd run into some problems, it was a lot of nights of ball one, ball two, ball three. And there were a lot of nights he'd fight his way back and maybe have a tough save. Or there was a couple that he didn't. But right now, he's executing his pitches so well."
Papelbon is 5-for-5 in saves and has a 2.16 ERA.
Last season, Papelbon committed a career-high eight blown saves and didn't make the All-Star team for the first time. But instead of that marking the start of a decline, perhaps it was just the natural down year that any star has at one time or another.
"He's been great in years past," said Red Sox lefty Jon Lester. "When guys have long careers, you're going to have have years when things just don't go your way. You just have to come back and keep grinding it out. That's a testament to what he did this offseason. Pap had a chip on his shoulder a little bit. I think he worked a little harder than normal. It's nice to see three nights in a row to come out throwing like he did."
Bobby Jenks also won't pitch in Saturday night's game against the Angels, as he also saw action in the previous three games.
If a closing situation presents itself, look for Daniel Bard to get the call. The righty got his day of rest on Friday.
Struggling Crawford shows signs of life
ANAHEIM -- Carl Crawford moved down to the No. 8 spot in Red Sox manager Terry Francona's batting order on Saturday, marking the fifth different place he has batted in the first month of the season. But if his 2-for-4 performance was any indication, he likely won't stay down there for very long.
Crawford has led off seven times, hit second three times, third two times and seventh six times.
With the two hits, he raised his average from .135 to .154. Crawford also drove in a run and one of his outs was a hard lineout to center.
The Red Sox beat the Angels, 5-0.
"It feels good whenever you can contribute to the team," Crawford said. "The way I've been playing, it definitely feels good to do something good. I'm just trying to keep everything simple and see the ball and hit it and not try to overdo anything."
Crawford has earned respect in the clubhouse for the way he's handled his tough start.
"He works with [hitting coach Dave Magadan] every day," said Francona. "When things are good, it seems really simple. When things aren't good, it seems really complicated. That's the way the game is. When you're swinging the bat good, all you see is the ball. You don't see where the umpire is, you don't see where the fielders are, you don't see the gum wrapper blowing in front of you. When you're not going good, you see everything except the ball. We've all been through it, some more than others. This game will kind of humble you sometimes."
But Crawford looked more like himself in this one, producing his first multi-hit game since April 11.
"He kept the ball on the ground," Francona said. "He hit the ball the other way. If he stays on the ground, and we don't want him just to chop balls, but if he stays on the ground, he's going to get some hits."