Pat Rapp was an afterthought when he was bounced from Boston's rotation earlier this season. Now he has become a key ingredient to the Red Sox's playoff run.
Rapp posted another impressive pitching performance and Trot Nixon had three hits and scored three runs as the Red Sox beat the Angels 7-4 Sunday for a three-game sweep.
Rapp (6-5) allowed one run and six hits in six innings. He is 4-0 with a 3.07 ERA in seven starts since being reinserted into the rotation July 28.
He credited the turnaround to a change in his pitching delivery.
With Boston's rotation hit with injuries and ineffective performances, Rapp's rise has come at the right time. Bret Saberhagen is currently on the 15-day DL with a weak shoulder and Brian Rose was demoted to the minors last week. Mark Portugal and Tim Wakefield have struggled with their consistency.
"I think that stint in the bullpen gave him some time to work on some things," Boston manager Jimy Williams said. "I think his delivery has changed and it's helped him a lot."
Boston, which moved one game ahead of Oakland for the AL wild-card lead, won for the fifth time in six games. The Red Sox went 9-1 against the Angels this season, winning all six at Fenway Park.
"Everybody says that Oakland has been doing well, but (Rapp's) the reason we're staying in there," Boston catcher Scott Hatteberg said.
Unlike the first two games of the series, when the Red Sox pulled out wins in their last at-bat, they didn't need any late-inning heroics.
With the score tied at 1, Boston broke through with three runs against Tim Belcher (5-8) in the fifth.
"Sometimes I think `am I really this bad? Are we really that bad'?" Belcher said. "I'd like to think I'm only a couple of pitches away. Most games I'm out there, I feel like I'm on the verge of putting it together. But that's the frustration during a (bad) year."
Matt Walbeck's RBI single gave Anaheim a 1-0 lead in the second. Nixon's sacrifice fly tied it in the third.
"If you look at the past two weeks, I thought we've played pretty good," Anaheim manager Terry Collins said. "We just haven't come away with wins."
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