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10/06/08 2:38 AM ET

Red Sox Short Hops: Game 3

Beckett's struggles, lack of clutch hits loom large in loss

BOSTON -- Fielding the Red Sox's 5-4 loss to the Angels on a short hop ...

In < 25 words ...
Josh Beckett struggled and the Red Sox's bats couldn't come through late in the clutch. Now it's win or go west.

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Frozen moment
Jed Lowrie hit the liner hard. Unfortunately, he hit it right at right fielder Gary Matthews to end the 10th. You don't often strand the bases loaded in extra innings and get away with it, as the Red Sox would go on to prove.

Big number
30 -- The number of pitches Beckett needed to throw to get out of the first inning. It was an early ominous sign for the Red Sox, who were hoping Beckett could shut down the Angels and close out this series.

Game balls

Javier Lopez

Every game needs a goat. Consider Lopez the unlucky winner of that title after he gave up three singles in the 12th to let the go-ahead run across.

Josh Beckett

Beckett seemed to struggle to get on the same page as catcher Jason Varitek early. The right-hander gutted out five innings on a night in which he didn't have his best stuff, but this clearly wasn't the Beckett of postseason lore.

Justin Masterson

Has worked all three games of this series, but the exposure didn't prevent the rookie from getting four key outs in the eighth and ninth innings.

Jonathan Papelbon

Papelbon continues to roll along, working a scoreless 10th and 11th to keep his postseason scoreless innings streak going strong at 19 2/3. The only question is whether he'll be able to pitch in Game 4.

Sense of October
Postseason baseball always seems to beg for the bizarre. And it doesn't get much more bizarre than Jacoby Ellsbury's three-run single in the second. Thanks to some miscommunication between Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick and center fielder Torii Hunter, Ellsbury's popup fell in, and all three runners on base were streaking toward home with two out. It was the first three-run single in postseason history.

Lines of the Game
Dustin Pedroia
5 AB, 0 H, 0 R, 1 HBP, 1 K
Comment: Pedroia is aware this series has begun, right? He's 0-for-13 and would be the first to admit this is a major disappointment from a No. 2 hitter and MVP candidate.

Josh Beckett
5 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 9 H, 4 BB, 6 Ks, 2 HRs
Comment: He looked healthy. And that's the best that can be said for this ugly outing.

"Absolutely not. We're going to continue to go out and play our game." -- Jason Varitek, when asked if the pressure of this series has shifted toward the Red Sox

Next step
Jon Lester got this series started off on the right foot, and he'll look to put his foot down and complete the ALDS win when he gets the ball opposite John Lackey on Monday night in Game 4 at Fenway Park.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.