By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor -
AUG. 13, 2002
GAME 119 - TIGERS AT ANGELS
ANAHEIM -- For 10 1/2 innings Tuesday night, Darin Erstad sat on the bench, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound bundle of energy with no outlet.
But nearly four hours after the game began, he got his release. Erstad's pinch-hit, RBI-single in the bottom of the 11th tied the game at 6. Then in the 12th inning, Troy Glaus' RBI single to left-center off Tigers reliever Adam Bernero scored Shawn Wooten from second base to give the Angels a 7-6 win before what was left of a crowd of 19,694 at Edison Field.
Erstad was scratched from Tuesday's starting lineup because of a tight right hamstring, and watched from the bench along with fellow outfielder Tim Salmon, who is nursing a bruised right hand. Salmon got into the game as a pinch runner in the ninth inning.
Erstad said he tried to stay loose throughout the game in case he got a chance, and it came with the Angels down a run in the 11th, his first pinch-hit appearance of the season.
``You take deep breaths and try to put yourself in the frame of mind like you've been playing the whole game,'' Erstad said. ``You try to fool yourself.''
It worked, setting up Glaus' game-winning hit in the 12th. Wooten started the winning rally with a one-out double in the 12th. Al Levine, the Angels' fifth reliever of the night, pitched a scoreless 12th to get the victory.
Seattle beat Boston on Tuesday, so the Angels remain two games behind the Mariners in the American League West, but they gained a game in the wild-card race, moving two games ahead of the Red Sox.
The Angels took a 5-4 lead in the fourth inning against Tigers starter Jose Lima, but six Tigers relievers held the Angels scoreless until the 11th.
The Angels bullpen was nearly as good in relief of starter Aaron Sele, but the Tigers also scored a run in the 11th on a controversial call at the plate.
Shane Halter was on first with one out when Carlos Pena ripped a double to left-center field. Angels left fielder Garret Anderson cut off the ball and got it to shortstop David Eckstein, who threw home.
Halter slid past the plate, then tried to reach back and touch it with his hand. Angels catcher Jose Molina appeared to tag Halter before he touched the plate, but umpire Rob Drake ruled Halter safe.
Drake was the first-base umpire, but he rotated home because home plate umpire Paul Emmel went to cover third base. Third-base umpire Matt Hollowell had run to cover second because second-base umpire Gary Darling went into the outfield to watch for a catch on the batted ball.
In the bottom of the 11th, Glaus led off with a double and went to third on a single by Scott Spiezio. Erstad followed with his RBI single, but the Angels failed to score again in the inning even though they loaded the bases with one out.
Sele had gone eight consecutive starts without giving up as many as five runs in a game, but the streak ended by the fifth inning on Tuesday.
The Tigers, who rank last in the majors in runs scored, scored twice in the first inning. Hiram Bocachica led off with a single and went to third on Damian Jackson's double. One out later, Bocachica scored and Jackson went to third on Randall Simon's sacrifice fly. Jackson scored on a wild pitch by Sele, even though catcher Bengie Molina blocked the ball, knocking it back towards the pitcher's mound.
Molina was slow to get to the ball from behind the plate, but he made up for it with his bat in the second inning, hitting a two-run homer that tied the game and was just his second homer of the year.
Sele, however, gave it right back in the third. Bocachica homered with one out, and Jackson singled and scored on Bobby Higginson's double to right-center.
The Angels rallied to take their first lead of the game in the fourth inning, scoring three times. Spiezio singled home one run, Molina hit a sacrifice fly and Adam Kennedy had an RBI double to put the Angels up 5-4.
The lead lasted only until the Tigers batted in the top of the fifth, scoring on Chris Truby's sacrifice fly to tie the game at 5.
The Angels had a chance to regain the lead in the bottom of the fifth after Alex Ochoa doubled and David Eckstein walked to begin the inning. But when Orlando Palmeiro missed on a bunt attempt, Ochoa was caught too far off second and picked off by Tigers catcher Brandon Inge.
Sele reached the sixth inning but after giving up a single and a walk, he was replaced by Brendan Donnelly, who got out of the inning without allowing a run. It was the first time Sele failed to go six innings in nine starts, going back to June 24. Tuesday, he gave up five runs and seven hits in five-plus innings.
Lima was no better, allowing five runs and six hits in four-plus innings.
The bullpens from both teams fared better than the starters. Once the starters were out of the game, neither team scored again until the 10th. Donnelly was perfect in 2 1/3 innings in relief of Sele, striking out four. Brian Powell threw three scoreless innings in relief of Lima.
ANAHEIM -- While there is still a quarter of the regular season to play, American League MVP candidates are emerging throughout the league. Out of Anaheim, Garret Anderson will get the most consideration.
Though Anderson has little chance of winning, he should finish in the top 10 in the voting and maybe even the top five. Going into Tuesday's game against the Tigers, Anderson was hitting .313 with 20 homers and 88 RBIs.
He also ranked first in the majors with 45 doubles, which is a club record and puts him on pace for 62 for the season. No one in the majors has had as many as 60 doubles in a season since 1936. The major league record is 67, set by Earl Webb of the Boston Red Sox in 1931.
``I think I'm as deserving as anybody,'' Anderson said of the award. ``There's no blueprint for winning it. Any time you put up good numbers you get recognized. And I'm a fresh face. If I'm being mentioned, it's probably because I'm someone new. It's a cool award, but I'd rather win than get that award.''
The MVP usually goes to a player on a winning team, though Texas' Alex Rodriguez could be the exception this season. In the Angels clubhouse, though, Anderson qualifies for serious consideration.
``In my mind, I'd hate to think where we'd be without Garret,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. ``If that's the criteria, he has to be a frontrunner.''
Anderson was named to the A.L. All-Star team this season for the first time in his career and only this season is he beginning to get national attention. But even if Anderson doesn't come close to winning it, Scioscia says Anderson will sleep well.
``Garret's not going to put individual goals over team goals,'' Scioscia said. ``With a guy on second and nobody out, he'll hook the ball and get the guy over. He's done that countless times. He comes out every day and gets his at-bats and lets the stats add up where they add up.''
Center fielder Darin Erstad was in Tuesday's lineup originally but was scratched because of ``fatigue'' in his right hamstring.
Erstad tripled in the fifth inning Monday but came out for a pinch-hitter later in the same inning when his place in the order came up again. Scioscia said Erstad was simply given the rest of the game off to rest.
Including Tuesday, the Angels have played games on 22 consecutive days but will get days off Thursday and Monday of next week.
Right fielder Tim Salmon (bruised left hand) had a CT scan Tuesday which confirmed the original diagnosis and showed no fracture. Salmon was hit by a pitch Saturday in Toronto and is listed as day-to-day. ... Left-handed pitcher Dennis Cook (partially torn labrum in left shoulder) will throw off the mound on Friday. The Angels hope Cook can return from the disabled list in September.
AUG. 12, 2002
GAME 118 - TIGERS AT ANGELS
ANAHEIM -- After arriving home Sunday night following games on 20 consecutive days and a cross-country flight from Toronto, the Angels would have enjoyed a day off on Monday. With the Detroit Tigers in town, some might say they got one anyway.
With a chance to pick up ground on the idle Seattle Mariners, the Angels breezed to a 7-0 victory over the Tigers before 19,709 at Edison Field. The outcome never seemed in doubt, and in fact Angels manager Mike Scioscia lifted Darin Erstad for a pinch hitter with the bases loaded in the fifth inning to give him the rest of the night off.
With the win, the Angels moved within two games of the Mariners in the American League West, and increased their lead in the wild-card race to one game over the Boston Red Sox. The Mariners and Red Sox begin a series in Seattle tonight.
The Angels (70-48) are 22 games over .500 for the third time this season. They have not been 23 games over .500.
In the American League, only the Tampa Bay Devil Rays have a worse record than the Tigers (45-73), and Monday the Tigers showed why. The Tigers had only four hits off Angels starter Kevin Appier and two relievers, and their defense committed three errors.
``Fortunately we capitalized on a couple pitches and a couple bad plays,'' Angels first baseman Scott Spiezio said. ``Good teams take advantage of things like that.''
Appier held the Tigers scoreless through six innings and got the first two outs in the seventh before he gave up a single and two walks to load the bases. After 111 pitches and 6 2/3 innings, he was through for the night. When the game was finished, Appier had his 10th win of the season, marking the 10th season in his major league career he's had double-figures in victories.
''Hopefully all of us (starters) will have wins in double-figures when the season is over,'' Appier said.
It was the second consecutive shutout by the Angels pitching staff. Appier, Al Levine (1 1/3 innings) and Scot Shields (one inning) did it Monday, one night after Jarrod Washburn and Troy Percival combined to blank the Blue Jays on Sunday. The Angels pitchers have combined for 22 consecutive scoreless innings, last giving up a run in the fifth inning on Saturday in Toronto.
The Angels had 14 hits, including home runs from Spiezio (No. 7) and Garret Anderson (No. 20), which came back-to-back during a five-run fifth. David Eckstein and Erstad each had a triple and the Angels had six extra-base hits in all.
Spiezio reached base three times Monday, getting a single and walk in addition to his homer. It's just what Scioscia had in mind when he put Spiezio in the No. 3 spot in the batting order, normally occupied by Tim Salmon. But with Salmon still out nursing a bruised left hand, Spiezio batted third for the first time this season. He also got some ribbing from his teammates before the game, who said Scioscia must have made a mistake in making out the lineup.
``They gave me a lot of junk before the game,'' Spiezio said. ``Like I'm the only three-hitter in the game with six home runs. And they told me to keep the lineup card, frame it and send it to the Hall of Fame.''
Tigers staters Mark Redman (7-10) lasted only four-plus innings, giving up six runs and 10 hits. The Angels got started quickly, getting a leadoff triple by Eckstein in the first inning. Eckstein scored on Erstad's sacrifice fly.
After Spiezio singled with one out in the third inning, Anderson doubled into the right-field corner. And when Tigers right fielder Robert Fick bobbled the ball for an error, Spiezio scored to make it 2-0.
The Angels blew the game open in a five-run fifth inning, which started with a triple by Erstad and the back-to-back homers by Spiezio and Anderson. The Angels added two more runs on an error by second baseman Damian Jackson and an RBI single by Alex Ochoa.
Meanwhile, Appier held the Tigers offense in check, getting some help from his defense along the way.
Randall Simon led off the second inning with a drive to the right-center field gap. Erstad raced over from center field, played the ball off the wall and threw a one-hop strike to second to nail Simon.
In the fifth, Fick led off with a sinking liner to right field, but Ochoa made a sliding catch for the out.
ANAHEIM -- News that the baseball players union did not set a strike date Monday was met with approval in the Angels clubhouse, including one Angel who found himself in a difficult situation the last time a strike occurred in 1994-95.
Angels reliever Brendan Donnelly was a replacement player in the spring of 1995, signing to play with the Cincinnati Reds.
``I didn't have a job,'' said Donnelly, who made his major league debut earlier this season at age 31. ``I was out of baseball, period.''
At 23, Donnelly figured his baseball career was over and he was ready to go back to school. With no professional teams showing any interest in him, Donnelly was promised a job in single-A if he signed as a replacement player. He figured it was his only opportunity to prove he could pitch, and it turned out he was correct.
He reached Triple-A Indianapolis with the Reds organization in 1998 but was released in '99. He was signed and released by Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Toronto in the coming seasons, and also played briefly in the Cubs' organization before the Angels signed him as a minor league free agent before the 2001 season.
He pitched at Double-A Arkansas and Triple-A Salt Lake for the Angels last season before finally getting called up April 6 this season. He believes he never would have reached the big leagues without signing with the Reds in 1995, but he also had to let his current Angels teammates know about his past.
``I've got the support of the team,'' said Donnelly, who is 0-1 with a 2.16 ERA in 21 games with the Angels this season. ``It's a dead issue as far as the Angels are concerned.''
Scott Schoeneweis, the Angels' player representative to the players union, said the team is fine with Donnelly's past.
``He addressed all of us,'' Schoeneweis said. ``From a team standpoint we don't have a problem with it. Everyone's objective here is to win and there are 25 guys here trying to get the job done. He's one of us. It's not an issue.''
Schoeneweis was not in Chicago for the meeting with fellow player reps on Monday. Assistant player rep Jarrod Washburn attended in his place because Washburn pitched Sunday and was not available for Monday's game anyway. Washburn was expected to arrive at Edison Field around 7 p.m.
``Everyone's encouraged with the way things are going so we didn't see a reason to set a strike date now,'' Washburn said after Monday's game. ``The sides are getting closer. They continue to talk, not just bickering and pulling each other's hair out. My gut feeling is something will be worked out.''
Many others in the Angels clubhouse also are hopeful a labor agreement is coming soon.
``If they made the effort to get everyone together in Chicago and they didn't set a strike date, to me, that's an optimistic sign,'' right fielder Tim Salmon said.
Salmon was not in the starting lineup Monday for the second game in a row because of bruised left hand, suffered when hit by a pitch on Saturday in Toronto. Alex Ochoa started in right field in Salmon's place.
Salmon said he took three swings in batting practice Monday and knew he wasn't ready. ``The grip is the big thing,'' he said. ``If I can't swing with the authority I expect, it's not worth it.''
First baseman Scott Spiezio batted third, Salmon's normal spot in the order. It was the first time this season Spiezio has batted third.
``(Darin) Erstad was messing with me, saying (manager Mike Scioscia) must've made a mistake,'' Spiezio said.
Scioscia said he liked the switch-hitting Spiezio in the No. 3 spot because he's been done well hitting right-handed this season and wanted a good on-base guy in front of Nos. 4 and 5 hitters Garret Anderson and Troy Glaus. Spiezio went into the game hitting .350 from the right side.