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Angels Make It Through Night

Baseball: Washburn is at home in 8-2 victory over the Brewers, and Kennedy plays despite mourning Kile.

June 23, 2002|STEVE SPRINGER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MILWAUKEE — For Jarrod Washburn, there was the pressure of making a dream come true.

For Adam Kennedy, there was the agony of making a nightmare go away.

Yet, when the umpire yelled, "Play ball" Saturday night at Miller Park, both Angels performed as if they didn't have a care in the world, teaming with Darin Erstad to lead their team to an 8-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in front of a disappointed crowd of 28,765.

Washburn, a native son who wanted to return a conquering hero, won his seventh consecutive decision. Erstad, with four hits, and Kennedy, with three despite mourning the death of friend Darryl Kile, led a 16-hit Angel attack.

Washburn (7-2), who was born in La Crosse, Wis., grew up dreaming of being a big league star in Milwaukee. He never dreamed it would happen with the word "Anaheim" lettered across his chest. But when he saw the 2002 schedule featured an interleague series in Milwaukee, he counted off the games and was delighted to find his turn in the rotation would come up this weekend.

It was tougher than he could have dreamed. He spent his pregame time in the clubhouse, normally the time when a pitcher zones in on the task at hand, crowded around a television with his teammates learning about the sudden death of Kile, the St. Louis Cardinal pitcher.

On the field, Washburn was surrounded by more than 100 family and friends in the seats.

And once the game started, he was surrounded by Brewer baserunners every place he looked. Washburn gave up eight hits, stranded eight runners and threw 122 pitches in six innings. But he was toughest when he had to be, striking out a career-high 10.

"My dreams came true," Washburn said. "We won."

His manager, Mike Scioscia was most impressed by Washburn's effort.

"He really worked hard," Scioscia said of the man he calls "Cheesehead." "I don't think he had his best stuff. They had runners everywhere. He left it all out there, but that's what he does."

The Brewers had a chance to ruin Washburn's night in the first inning. They collected three hits, but ran themselves out of a big inning.

After Eric Young opened with a walk, Ronnie Belliard and Jeffrey Hammonds had back-to-back singles, scoring one run. But on a pitch that got Richie Sexson swinging, Belliard was caught going to third. Angel third baseman Troy Glaus ran Belliard back to second before applying the tag. Belliard was already in a foul mood after exchanging angry words with teammate Tyler Houston in the clubhouse before the game, the cause of their dispute not revealed.

Alex Ochoa kept the inning going for the Brewers with a single to right but, when Hammonds tried to score, Tim Salmon fired a strike that nailed him with several feet to spare.

The Angels, who had scored a run in the first on Salmon's RBI single, added two in the second inning, one in the third, fourth and sixth and two in the seventh. In their well-balanced attack, in which nine players including Washburn got at least one hit, the Angels raised their team average to .282.

Brad Fullmer hit his ninth home run of the season, and second in as many nights.

Milwaukee's Jose Cabrera (3-5) threw 55 pitches in the first two innings and left after throwing 90 in four innings.

The Angels, who cut Seattle's AL West lead to two games, are doing so well, they had a potential home run taken away and were able to shrug it off.

At least, everybody but Bengie Molina was able to shrug it off. Molina, who is homerless this season in 229 at-bats, hit a towering fly ball to center in the third inning. Hammonds leaped at the wall and came down with the ball, enabling the frustrated crowd to finally let out a cheer.

But replays from several angles clearly showed umpire Bill Hohn had blown the call. The ball bounced on top of the wall before Hammonds smothered it with his glove.

"It broke my heart," Molina said.

Before the game, word of Kile's death spread through the clubhouse. It hit Kennedy as hard as anyone because he got to know Kile when he was still in the Cardinal organization.

When the crowd was asked for a moment of silence for Kile before the game, Kennedy told himself, "Let's have this moment for him and then you've got to play. You've got three hours to stay focused."

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