Angels rally to finish sweep of BoSox
Posted: Monday, July 21, 2008 7:03 pm
By: By The Associated Press
With closer Francisco Rodriguez saving two-thirds of their wins, the Los Angeles Angels own the best record in baseball.
Take a look at what they’ve done against top competition, too.
Rodriguez reached 40 saves faster than anyone in big league history, and the Angels rallied past the visiting Boston Red Sox 5-3 on Sunday to complete an impressive three-game sweep.
Casey Kotchman’s two-run double capped a three-run eighth inning that carried Los Angeles to its fifth straight victory. The Angels improved to 5-1 against the defending World Series champions, clinching their first season series over Boston since 2001.
“It feels good, but there’s a lot of baseball left,” said Howie Kendrick, who doubled home the tying run. “Any time you beat these guys, it’s a big deal. We’re just happy to come out with a couple wins and keep rolling.”
Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter homered on consecutive pitches from knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (6-7), helping the Angels become the first team in the majors with 60 wins.
The AL West leaders, 39-18 against clubs with winning records, are a season-high 22 games over .500. They are nine games ahead of second-place Oakland — none of the other five division leaders has a cushion of more than two games.
“We’ve got a long road ahead of us,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “We played well this weekend, (but) I don’t see any carryover. The season’s more than this weekend. We have to keep going.”
In other AL games, it was: New York 2, Oakland 1; Detroit 5, Baltimore 1; Toronto 9, Tampa Bay 4; Kansas City 8, Chicago 7; Texas 1, Minnesota 0, and Cleveland 6, Seattle 2.
With another late comeback, the Angels completed their first three-game sweep of Boston in seven years. They scored four runs in the seventh Saturday for a 4-2 win.
The Red Sox have been a nemesis in October, especially. The Angels have lost nine straight playoff games to Boston, including first-round sweeps in 2004 and last year.
“The reason we didn’t have success against them in the past is we didn’t get the clutch hit,” Rodriguez said. “This series, everything came around pretty good.”
Darren Oliver (3-1) fanned three in 11/3 hitless innings to earn the win, and Rodriguez struck out the side in the ninth for his 40th save in 43 chances. He reached 40 saves in 98 games — 10 faster than Atlanta’s John Smoltz did five years ago.
“To get to 40 at this time is unbelievable,” Rodriguez said. “Last year, I got to 40 in the last game of the season.”
The Red Sox lost for the 10th time in 12 road games and remained 1 games behind AL East-leading Tampa Bay.
“We had a lead and didn’t hold it,” manager Terry Francona said. “Those are the types of games you’ve got to win.”
Yankees 2, Athletics 1
At New York, Andy Pettitte outpitched Oakland All-Star Justin Duchscherer, getting just enough run support from Jason Giambi’s homer and a sacrifice fly by Alex Rodriguez to help the Yankees finish a three-game sweep.
The Yankees (53-45) won their seventh straight at home and climbed a season-best eight games over .500. The A’s have dropped five straight, managing just nine runs in the process.
Pettitte (11-7) gave up four hits in eight innings, matching his longest outing of the year. He struck out nine without a walk before Mariano Rivera worked a wild ninth for his 24th save in 24 chances.
Duchscherer (10-6), who was so ill during Tuesday’s All-Star game that he could barely pitch, lasted seven innings and gave up seven hits.
Blue Jays 9, Rays 4
At St. Petersburg, Fla., Alex Rios and Marco Scutaro homered, and Toronto avoided a three-game sweep.
Scutaro hit a three-run shot off Edwin Jackson (5-7) in the fifth to put the Blue Jays ahead 6-4. Rios had a two-run homer in the third and added an RBI double during a three-run seventh.
Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena had solo homers for the Rays, who dropped to 38-15 at home. Tampa Bay has lost eight of 10 overall.
Indians 6, Mariners 2
At Seattle, Cliff Lee followed up his All-Star start with his second complete game this season, scattering 11 hits for Cleveland.
Lee (13-2) became the American League’s first 13-game winner and Kelly Shoppach ended an 0-for-13 funk with a three-run homer off Carlos Silva in the fourth. Silva (4-12) left with back tightness immediately after the home run, the latest ailment for Seattle’s sick, injured and ineffective rotation.
Rangers 1, Twins 0
At Minneapolis, Taylor Teagarden broke up Scott Baker’s perfect-game bid with a sixth-inning homer for his first major league hit, and Vicente Padilla pitched Texas past the Twins.
Minnesota lost for only the eighth time in 31 games. Baker (6-3) took a hard-luck loss, his first in six starts.
Padilla (11-5), just off the disabled list, gave up three hits in seven innings. C.J. Wilson worked the ninth for his 23rd save, and 15th straight. With a runner on third, he retired Justin Morneau on a grounder to end it.
Royals 8, White Sox 7
At Chicago, Esteban German hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the eighth and went 3-for-3 as the Royals won for the fifth time in seven games. Joakim Soria got his 26th save.
Jim Thome doubled for his 2,000th hit and Joe Crede hit a three-run homer for the White Sox, who have lost five of seven. Nick Swisher had a two-run shot.
Chicago’s Jermaine Dye left with a bruised right knee after he was hit by a pitch. X-rays were negative and he is day-to-day.
Tigers 5, Orioles 1
At Baltimore, Justin Verlander (8-9) came within one out of completing a three-hitter, and Detroit got home runs from Magglio Ordonez and Marcus Thames to hand the Orioles their 15th consecutive Sunday loss.