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Arroyo has a hand in the clincher ... again

MARC TOPKIN, Times wires
Published October 9, 2004

BOSTON - Bronson Arroyo is getting the hang of this clinching thing.

On Sept. 28, the Brooksville resident was the starting pitcher when the Red Sox clinched the AL wild-card at Tropicana Field and set off a wild celebration. Friday, he was the starting pitcher when the Sox clinched the AL division series at Fenway Park and set off an even wilder celebration.

"I hope I have the opportunity to clinch every round," Arroyo said. "You can't ask for anything better than that."

Arroyo didn't get the victory Friday, though it was hardly his fault. He made his first postseason start a good one, allowing three hits and one run into the seventh inning, leaving with a 6-1 lead and a man on first.

The Angels tied it against Boston's bullpen, but Arroyo's no-decision was outweighed by the team's victory.

"You obviously want to get a win when you go out with a 6-1 lead, but playoffs are playoffs and it doesn't matter," he said. "I'll take a no-decision over a W if we get the win every night."

Manager Terry Francona was pleased with Arroyo's effort but thought the 27-year-old was getting tired.

"I thought he pitched a very, very good ballgame in a huge situation," Francona said. "I thought he was tremendous. I also thought after the first hitter (of the seventh), he looked like he was out of bullets."

GUILLEN UPDATE: Manager Mike Scioscia said it was possible outfielder Jose Guillen, who was suspended for disciplinary reasons, could be back with the Angels next season.

"We certainly would welcome Jose back," Scioscia said. "It was very unfortunate that it had to be done. It was unfortunate what happened. You know, it's certainly taken one of our better players away at a critical time. So, I think that speaks volumes on what the issues were. I think that we definitely would welcome Jose back at some point and would obviously have to work some things out, but there's nothing that says there's, you know, a door is closed."

Guillen, a former Devil Ray, expressed contrition in an ESPN-TV interview.

WELCOME RESPITE: By sweeping the best-of-five series, the Sox get a few days off and get the chance to set up their rotation for Curt Schilling to pitch the ALCS opener on Tuesday night and Pedro Martinez Game 2 on Wednesday in either New York or Minnesota. Schilling said the right ankle he tweaked in Game 1 should not be a problem.

VAZQUEZ TO START: Struggling right-hander Javier Vazquez will start for the Yankees in Game 4 against the Twins today. The other option for manager Joe Torre was Orlando Hernandez , but El Duque is bothered by a tired arm. After making the All-Star team, Vazquez had a terrible second half - going 4-5 with a 6.92 ERA. He won only once in his last nine starts. "I didn't do the best job," Vazquez said. "I'm just glad to get this opportunity."

MISCELLANY: David Ortiz hit the third walkoff homer in Red Sox postseason history, joining Trot Nixon (2003 ALDS vs. Oakland) and Carlton Fisk (1975 World Series vs. Cincinnati). ... The Sox hadn't clinched a postseason series at home since the 1986 ALCS. ... Derek Lowe, who was bumped from the rotation to the bullpen for the playoffs, gave the Sox a huge 10th inning. ... The Sox never had been to the ALCS in consecutive years.

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