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Angels Get A's for Effort in Bid for Division Title

Baseball: Anaheim picks up game on Seattle with 8-4 victory over Oakland.

September 18, 1997|JOHN WEYLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ANAHEIM — A lot of things went the Angels' way Wednesday night, as they tend to when they face Oakland this season. They had more hits (14) than they've had in almost two months, had runners on base in every inning but two, scored in five of the first six innings and got a quality start from Allen Watson.

But the best news of the night came out of Texas, where the Rangers scored three in the ninth to beat the Mariners, 5-4.

The Angels haven't lost to Oakland this season and the dominance continued with an 8-4 victory in front of 16,800 at Anaheim Stadium. And--thanks to the flagging Seattle bullpen--the Angels finally managed to crawl out of the 5 1/2-or-six-games-behind muck in which they've been mired for more than a week.

The Angels, who have beaten Oakland all 11 times they've met this year, picked up a game on the Mariners for the first time since Sept. 7 and now trail Seattle by five in the AL West. The Mariners' recent routine of matching every Angel victory and loss has been disheartening for the Angels, whose hopes that next week's two-game series in Seattle will have meaning continue to hinge on the Mariners losing a few in the next few days.

"We finally got a little movement and that's a good sign," Manager Terry Collins said. "If we can hang in there so those games up there mean something, it'll be fun. We've got a lot of young players, so there are some people who could get a lot out of that experience."

The game's first batter, Jason McDonald, walked, stole second and scored on Ben Grieve's single to center. But it was the last hurrah for the A's against Watson.

The Angel left-hander avoided the long ball--he has given up more home runs (35) than any pitcher in baseball--in a six-inning performance that included five hits, one run, three strikeouts and two walks. After the first inning, Oakland got only one runner past second base against Watson, who will start Tuesday's game in Seattle.

"I needed that," Watson said. "I made an adjustment from my last start. I figured it out on my own. . . . Now I'm really looking forward to starting Tuesday against Randy [Johnson]."

The Angels made the most of three hits in the first inning, scoring four times. Garret Anderson had a run-scoring single, Tim Salmon crushed his 32nd homer, a two-run shot to left, and Dave Hollins followed with a drive into the seats in right.

The Angels made the least of a single and four walks in the second, scoring only once, and performed similar feats in the fourth--when they pushed across one run despite three singles and a walk--and in the fifth, when they had three more hits and scored only once.

Mike James, who came on to pitch the seventh, got the first two hitters before giving up two walks, a double and a two-run single to pinch hitter Dave Magadan. Mike Holtz got the final out and worked an uneventful eighth. But Scott Spiezio led off the ninth with an infield single and Grieve followed with an run-scoring double. Troy Percival came on and retired all three batters he faced.

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