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Sunday afternoon didn't start as planned for ex-Ray LHP Scott Kazmir, who wasn't particularly sharp and put his new Angels team behind early. But it finished pretty well, Kazmir in the midst of the champagne celebration and moving toward a return trip to the World Series.

"I wasn't the happiest man when I left the mound," Kazmir said, "but, I'll tell you what, I am the happiest man alive right now."

Certainly more so than in his last postseason start at Fenway, when he threw six shutout innings for the Rays in Game 5 of last year's ALCS then watched as their bullpen blew it.

"It's crazy," Kazmir said. "I left with a 7-0 lead and we wind up losing, and now I give up five runs in six (innings) and we end up coming back in dramatic fashion like that off (Jonathan) Papelbon. Wow - you couldn't have written it up any better."

Kazmir was sharp the first two innings but gave up three runs in the third and two in the fourth. His outing was familiar: five runs in six innings, five hits, three walks, one strikeout, 90 pitches.

"He kind of got a little away from what he was going to do with his fastball, but he battled enough to where he kept us in the ballgame," said Angels, and former Rays, pitching coach Mike Butcher.

HIT MAN: Several Angels said Vladimir Guerrero's two-run single in the ninth was the biggest hit of his stellar career. Guerrero initially said it was only one of them, but after considering the Angels' efforts to honor Nick Adenhart, the pitcher who was killed in an April car accident, he reconsidered. "Yes, probably the biggest hit," he said through an interpreter, "because I'm dedicating that to a former teammate."

MAUER'S HEALTH: Twins C Joe Mauer has had a sore hip flexor muscle but emphatically told manager Ron Gardenhire that DHing was not an option for Game 3 against the Yankees.

MISCELLANY:The Angels had been eliminated the past two years, and in four previous postseason series, by the Sox. ... Angels manager Mike Scioscia refused to bite on a question about a possible All-L.A. World Series, but CF Torii Hunter said: "These guys are beasts over here (in the East), but I'll tell you the West Coast right now is the best coast."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.