By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor -
JUNE 28, 2002
GAME 78 - DODGERS AT ANGELS
ANAHEIM – Troy Glaus hit a three-run home run during a five-run fourth inning, but the Angels were shut down the rest of the way and the Dodgers rallied for a 7-5 victory before 43,690 at Edison Field.
The Dodgers knocked around Angels starter Kevin Appier and three relievers for 13 hits, the Angels falling to the first-place Dodgers for the third time in four meetings so far this season.
Glaus’ home run, his 15th of the season, tied the game at 3, and Brad Fullmer followed with a home run to put the Angels up, 4-3. Adam Kennedy’s sacrifice fly later in the inning made it 5-3.
The Dodgers responded with single runs in the fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth innings to finish it off.
JUNE 27, 2002
GAME 77 - ANGELS AT RANGERS
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Angels' spring bloom faced the withering heat and humidity of the midwest and southwest on what was their longest road trip of the season. But when it was over, they wiped their brows and returned to Southern California still on the heels of the division-leading Seattle Mariners.
The Angels held off the Texas Rangers, 6-3, Thursday night before 22,077 at The Ballpark in Arlington and finished the 14-game trip with seven wins and seven losses. When they began the trip, which started with three games at Dodger Stadium, they trailed the Mariners by one game. The Mariners also won Thursday, so the Angels remain 3 1/2 games back.
Angels starter Jarrod Washburn (8-2) gave up one run and four hits in six innings to win his eighth consecutive decision. Reliever Scot Shields got a crucial double-play ball in the eighth and Tim Salmon had the key hit. Troy Percival pitched the ninth for his 19th save.
After losing two of three in Los Angeles, the Angels lost two of three in St. Louis before sweeping the Brewers in Milwaukee. They lost the first three games of the series with the Rangers, including Monday's doubleheader, before winning the final two games.
``We're not playing good baseball and when you're not playing good baseball and you come out of a road trip still playing .500 it's not a total waste,'' said Washburn, who hasn't lost a decision since April 13. ``Hopefully we'll get back to playing better ball, but it's good to have this long one gone. If you play .500 ball when you're not playing well, you should be in the thick of it at the end of the year.''
Salmon, who has returned the No. 3 spot in the batting order, broke a 1-1 tie with a two-out, two-run single off Rangers starter Rob Bell (3-3) in the fifth inning. Salmon now has 48 RBIs, only one fewer than he had all of last season.
``It was a tough road trip, a long one,'' he said. ``We played some good teams and had to deal with some heat. We're glad to get out of it, the humidity really drains you.''
The Angels increased their lead to 4-1 in the sixth on Scott Spiezio's RBI single, but the key inning was the eighth, when the Shields got the Angels out of a jam.
The Rangers had already scored two runs in the inning to cut the Angels' lead to 4-3 and had the bases loaded with one out.
In came Shields, who began the season in the minor leagues and has been with the big club for only two weeks. But he need only three pitches to get out of the inning and keep the lead intact. Shields got ahead in the count, 0-2, to Ryan Ludwick before getting him to hit into a 4-6-3 double play.
Shields entered the night with only 13 games of major league experience, including four this season, but he stepped up in the most pressure-packed situation of his career.
``There comes a point in time when you've got to challenge guys and see how they respond,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``He threw three great pitches. Two running sinkers, down, and a slider for the double-play ball. The results were what we were looking for but he also executed his pitches in a tough situation.''
Shields got the chance because Al Levine has struggled lately, in part because of a weak right shoulder. Shields said he didn't feel the pressure even though Ludwick hit a home run off him earlier this season when both were at Triple-A, Shields with Salt Lake and Ludwick with Oklahoma City.
``I felt fine,'' Shields said. ``I hadn't been in that kind of situation here, but down at Salt Lake I'd been in situations like that a lot. I didn't feel any added pressure.''
Percival pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, including striking out Alex Rodriguez to end it.
``We had some ups and downs,'' Scioscia said of the trip. ``It was good to bounce back the last couple of nights after starting off on the wrong foot. Hopefully the guys will catch a second wind as we head to the All-Star break and fire it up again.''
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a homer by Ivan Rodriguez, but the Angels came back with three in the fifth. Adam Kennedy drove in one with a single before Salmon broke the tie.
The Angels got a gift run in the sixth. Brad Fullmer hit a routine fly to right, but Juan Gonzalez lost it in the twilight sky and the ball fell in for a double. Spiezio followed with a single to right, and even though he was thrown out at second going for a double, Fullmer scored to put the Angels up, 4-1.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia, a two-time All-Star as a player with the Dodgers, was named by American League All-Star manager Joe Torre to the team's coaching staff for the game July 9 in Milwaukee.
Indians manager Charlie Manuel was the other manager named. It's the first All-Star coaching appointment for both.
``It's a great honor and I'm excited to be a part of the atmosphere and that game,'' said Scioscia, who started at catcher for the National League in the 1990 All-Star game and also was on the 1989 team. ``It's always fun.''
Angels athletic trainer Ned Bergert also will go, but which players will go with Scioscia won't be known until Sunday when the teams will be announced. No Angel will be voted into the starting lineup, but they have several under consideration, including left fielder Garret Anderson, center fielder Darin Erstad, third baseman Troy Glaus, closer Troy Percival and catcher Bengie Molina.
Molina is one that hasn't gotten as much attention as the others but might be as deserving as any. His offensive numbers going into Thursday's game were modest -- .269, one homer, 34 RBIs. But defensively he leads A.L. catchers in throwing out would-be basestealers at 51 percent (24 of 47).
``He's made so many improvements,'' Percival said. ``Not many people try to run on us. He calls a good game, he's hitting about .270 and he drives in clutch runs. What he does for the pitching staff might not be noticed outside of here, but in my mind he's an All-Star.''
Said Scioscia: ``He calls as good a game as any catcher in baseball today.''
The Angels play the Dodgers this weekend, something Scioscia said won't be any easier just because the Angels are playing in their ballpark under American League rules.
``They have a tough lineup and having a DH will make them even better,'' Scioscia said, adding that he isn't surprised the Dodgers went into Thursday tied with Seattle for the best record in the majors.
``The question marks they had going in have turned into exclamation points,'' he said. ``They didn't know who would be their closer, but (Eric) Gagne has been arguably the best closer in the league. There was uncertainty what the rotation would be like but they've stepped up. You add a veteran like Brian Jordan and you see E.K. (Eric Karros) step up. All the ingredients are there.''
The Angels find themselves in the middle of the pennant race, but their success has been built on beating the lesser teams in both leagues. The Angels have a winning record against only one team that currently is over .500 -- the Cincinnati Reds, whom the Angels beat twice in three games.
Overall, the Angels are 35-12 vs. teams currently below .500 and 10-20 vs. teams over .500. After this weekend's series against the Dodgers, the Angels will play the following 10 games against teams under .500 -- Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Kansas City.