When first baseman Rod Carew of the California Angels finally reached 3,000 career hits, it came with a sigh of relief.
"I'm glad it's over," said Carew, who slapped a single to left field in the third inning of California's 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins Sunday.
"It's a great feeling. I didn't want to take it down to Monday with the strike so close."
Carew said he'd had a lot of sleepless nights over the past two weeks but knew all along he'd reach 3,000 eventually.
"When you've been around 19 years, you're bound to collect a lot of hits. To be mentioned with the Cobbs, Hornsby, Rose and Clemente, it's a great feeling for me.
"You hear those names for so many years and then you're right there with those guys. It's a great feeling."
During his career, Carew had had a stormy relationship with the media and said Sunday that he felt he hadn't gotten the recognition he was due. But teammate Reggie Jackson felt the milestone would change all that for Carew.
"They've said he doesn't knock in runs, he doesn't get the timely hit, but from now on, somewhere in that paragraph, they'll have to mention 3,000 hits.
Carew, 39 and in his 19th big league season, reached the milestone when he slapped a 1-1 pitch from Minnesota starter Frank Viola into left field. It was his only hit of the game in five at-bats.
The Angels scored their third unearned run of the game and broke a 5-5 tie in the eighth when an infield single by Brian Downing scored Gary Pettis, who reached first on an error by Minnesota second baseman Tim Teufel.
Stu Cliburn, 3-1, got the win in relief and Donnie Moore came on in the ninth to recored his 21st save. Minnesota reliever Frank Eufemia, 3-2, the second of four Minnesota pitchers, suffered the loss.
After Minnesota took a 1-0 lead in the third on a sacrifice fly by Kirby Puckett, California tied the game on a home run by shortstop Dick Schofield, his eighth, a half-inning later.
California scored added three runs in the fourth, two unearned, on run-scoring singles by Pettis and Bob Boone and a sacrifice fly by Schofield.
Minnesota tied the game again in the fifth when Puckett singled with the bases loaded to score two runs and Ron Washington added a sacrifice fly.
Minnestoa regained the lead 5-4 in the sixth when Gary Gaetti singled home Mickey Hatcher, who had doubled.
California made it 5-5 in the sixth when Juan Beniquez tripled down the right field line to score George Hendrick, who led off the inning with a walk.
Newly acquired John Candelaria, in his first start of the season, lasted five innings and allowed four runs on three hits, striking out two and walking three. Candelaria, along with Hendrick and reliever Al Holland, came to the Angels on Friday in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates.