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Edmonds' Absence Is Noticed : Angels: Red Sox win in ninth, 4-3, after starting center fielder leaves with injured back.


One loss might have led to another Thursday night. Angel center fielder Jim Edmonds had to leave the game against the Boston Red Sox in the top of the eighth inning because of a back injury, and his replacement couldn't make a catch on a double that gave Boston a 4-3 victory before a paid crowd of 25,435 in Anaheim Stadium.

Dave Gallagher, acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies last week, turned the wrong way when Lee Tinsley's line drive to deep center left the bat in the top of the ninth.

Gallagher, playing shallow against Boston's leadoff hitter, scrambled to recover and was at the warning track when the ball one-hopped the wall, allowing Luis Alicea to score the winning run and give the Red Sox their 14th victory in their last 15 games.

Could Gallagher have made the catch if he made the right break on the ball?

"I don't think so, not from where I was playing," he said. "The ball had a lot of backspin and was carrying pretty well. Maybe if it was hit a little higher, I could have had it. If I would have come close to catching it, I'd be sitting here asking myself a lot of questions, but I didn't come close."

Edmonds was hurt making a catch on a ball that was hit in almost the same spot. Edmonds crashed into the wall after hauling in Mike Greenwell's drive to center in the fifth.

He suffered a sprained left lower back but was still able to hit a two-run homer off Roger Clemens in the bottom of the fifth. But Edmonds said he had to limp around the bases: "I felt like if I took one wrong step something was going to pull."

Edmonds has made numerous catches at the wall this season, but Manager Marcel Lachemann isn't so sure he could have made the play on Tinsley's hit.

"That was a line drive that was smoked pretty good," Lachemann said. "Gallagher's a good outfielder. I don't think he would have caught it even if he had turned the right way."

The game was tied going into the ninth only because the Angels wriggled out of a first-and-third, no-out situation in the top of the eighth.

Jose Canseco led off against reliever John Habyan with a double to left, and Habyan compounded his problems when he fielded Chris James' sacrifice bunt and incorrectly threw to third.

Canseco beat the throw, and James reached on the fielder's choice. Troy O'Leary chopped a grounder to first baseman J.T. Snow, who looked Canseco back to third before forcing James at second.

O'Leary, with Tim Naehring up, tried to steal, but second baseman Jose Lind made a leaping grab of catcher Jorge Fabregas' throw and nicked O'Leary on the helmet with the tag for the second out. Habyan struck Naehring out on the next pitch to preserve a 3-3 tie.

Chili Davis walked with two outs in the bottom of the eighth and Snow singled, but second baseman Alicea ranged far to his left to snag Garret Anderson's grounder to the hole and throw him out, ending the threat.

Clemens, who began the game with a career 21-7 record and 2.45 earned-run average against the Angels, pitched seven strong innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and striking out seven before giving way to a trio of relievers that included Stan Belinda, who pitched a scoreless ninth for his ninth save.

Neither Edmonds nor Snow had ever gotten a hit off Clemens, but both ended long droughts against the Red Sox right-hander--Edmonds a 0-for-8 streak and Snow a 0-for-18 run--to help stake the Angels to a 3-2 lead after five innings.

Edmonds erased a 2-1 deficit and took the American League RBI lead in the fifth with a two-run home run, golfing a low Clemens fastball over fence in left-center.

Tony Phillips, who has a .362 lifetime average (21 for 58) against the three-time Cy Young Award winner, had singled to center just before Edmonds' 28th homer of the season. Edmonds boosted his RBI total to 92, ahead of Boston first baseman Mo Vaughn (90).

But the Angel lead evaporated in the top of the sixth when Naehring lined a Mike Harkey pitch into the left-field seats for a bases-empty home run and a 3-3 tie.

Boston took a 2-0 lead with single runs in the third and fourth, Vaughn doubling and scoring on Greenwell's single to center in the third and Alicea homering to right in the fourth.

But Davis opened the fourth with a bloop single to left, and Snow slapped a double into the left-field corner to put runners on second and third. Anderson struck out, but Davis scored on Damion Easley's groundout to make it 2-1.

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