Thursday, August 21, 2008
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Angels beat Rays to regain best record in AL

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[August 21, 2008]  ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Given a final chance to extend his hitting streak to 23 games, Garret Anderson delivered for the Los Angeles Angels with a ninth-inning infield single that drove in the winning run in a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.

Anderson struck out with the bases loaded in the seventh, when Los Angeles wasted an opportunity to break the game open. But he came through in the same situation in the ninth, after the Rays tied it 4-all on Carlos Pena's RBI double off Jose Arredondo (5-1).

Vladimir Guerrero was walked intentionally to load the bases with one out in the ninth. After Torii Hunter grounded into a force play at the plate, Anderson hit a sharp grounder that second baseman Akinori Iwamura was unable to backhand cleanly moving to his right.

The play initially was ruled an error. It later was changed to a hi, keeping Anderson's streak alive.

Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for the Angels for his major league-leading and club- record 48th save.


Angels starter Jered Weaver settled down after allowing three runs in the second, limiting the Rays to five hits and matching a career high with nine strikeouts in six innings before entrusting a 4-3 lead to the bullpen.

Los Angeles squandered a couple of chances to break the game open, leaving the bases loaded in the sixth against right-hander Matt Garza and the seventh when left-hander Trever Miller fanned Anderson.


Erick Aybar had a two-run triple and Chone Figgins and Mark Teixeira also drove in runs off Rays Garza for the Angels, who won for the first time in six tries at Tropicana Field this season.

The victory cooled the Rays, who have won nine of 12, and enabled Los Angeles to nudge back ahead of Tampa Bay for the best record in the American League at 77-48.

The Rays scored three runs with two outs in the second after Angels third baseman Figgins was unable to get to Gabe Gross' foul ball that didn't quite reach the stands up the left-field line.

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Gross singled to right two pitches later, driving in Eric Hinske, who drew a throw to the plate that allowed Gross to move up to second base. Shawn Riggans followed with a RBI single, then Jason Bartlett tripled to left-center to make it 3-0.

The Angels countered with a four-run third against Garza, who was coming off a two-hit shutout over the Texas Rangers.

Figgins doubled to drive in the first run, Aybar followed with his two-run triple and Teixeira put Los Angeles ahead 4-3 with a RBI grounder that scored Aybar.

Notes: Rays LF Carl Crawford, on the 15-day disabled list after undergoing surgery to correct a tendon problem in his right middle finger, returned to St. Petersburg from his home in Phoenix and will see a therapist on Thursday. He hopes to return before the end of the regular season. He said he's not surprised the team has continued to win with him, 3B Evan Longoria and RHP Troy Percival on the DL. "We've been winning like that all year long without certain guys in the lineup," Crawford said. "The team is not built for one person to make it win. It's a team effort." ... Weaver fanned nine in a game for the fourth time in his career.

[Associated Press; By FRED GOODALL]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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