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ANGELS REPORT

You Can't Call This a Playoff Run

September 18, 2000|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

MINNEAPOLIS — The Angels may have run themselves right out of the playoff picture Sunday, getting cut down on throws from the outfield to home and third base in a 1-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

First it was Garret Anderson, who tried to tag and score on Kevin Stocker's fly to medium right in the second inning. Anderson ran right past third base coach Ron Roenicke, who had both arms up trying to stop him, and was out on a close play at the plate.

"I just didn't see him, and as I passed him, I heard, 'No, no,' but I couldn't stop," Anderson said. "I kept going, and the guy [John Barnes] made a great throw to get me out."

Roenicke took at least partial blame for the play, saying he could have made the decision to stop Anderson a little sooner. But the coach had nothing to do with Tim Salmon's decision to tag from second on Anderson's fly to medium center in the fourth, a risk Salmon might not have taken had the Twins' ace, Brad Radke, not been pitching Sunday.

"You're always thinking you want to take any chance to get a run against a guy like that, because he's stingy with runs," Salmon said. "I made an aggressive play in my mind. I thought I could make it, and that guy [Torii Hunter] made an unbelievable throw. I don't think it was a stupid play."

Salmon called Anderson's fly ball a "tweener," saying it was neither shallow nor extremely deep. When it appeared Hunter would be flat-footed when he caught the ball, Salmon decided to go.

"He was on his heels, and when I saw the third baseman catch the ball before I even started my slide, I was shocked," Salmon said. "It takes a super throw to get you, but how many guys can make that throw consistently?"

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Tim Belcher continued his strong comeback from elbow problems Sunday, limiting the Twins to one run and five hits in eight innings, striking out six and walking one. The right-hander has given up six runs on 17 hits in 21 innings of three starts since being activated in early September.

Belcher, 38, has been hindered by elbow injuries for two seasons and has contemplated retirement. The Angels have a $5.1-million option on Belcher for 2001 or can buy it out for $1 million. Has his recent success made him more confident about returning next season?

"I'm just feeling real good about my next start," Belcher said. "I've gone through so many conflicting emotions about next year, I'm trying to restrain my enthusiasm."

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Angel catcher Bengie Molina, who has been the team's hottest hitter, going 17 for 34 with nine RBIs in the last 10 games, was pulled in the second inning Sunday because of tightness in his left quadriceps.

Molina landed awkwardly on the bag after beating out a bunt for a single because Twin second baseman Luis Rivas didn't make it to first to cover. But Molina said the injury is not serious and that he should be able to play Tuesday in Kansas City.

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