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Glaus' Big Night Is Made to Order

Angels: Batting second in lineup, he hits three homers in rout of Texas. Anaheim sets win record and is alone in first place.

September 16, 2002|JASON REID | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Laughter erupted in the Angel clubhouse Sunday when a makeshift lineup was posted that listed third baseman Troy Glaus batting second.

Manager Mike Scioscia shuffled the batting order because of injuries and illness, putting the slugger in line for some good-natured ribbing from teammates about his responsibility to advance runners by "doing the little things."

"That," Glaus said, "wasn't going to happen."

Apparently not.

Glaus broke the rules for a No. 2 hitter, but the Angels weren't complaining after he hit three home runs and drove in six runs to power a 13-4 victory over the Texas Rangers as the club took sole possession of first place in the American League West.

"We've been waiting for him to come alive," said Manager Mike Scioscia, whose club sent 10 batters to the plate in racing to a 5-0 lead in the first inning. "He's shown glimpses of it, and tonight he gave us a big lift with the way he swung the bat.

"The thing about Troy is, you look around and say, 'Well, he's struggled at this time, or he's struggled at that time.' But he still has over 100 RBI, which is really what his role on this club is."

Glaus accounted for more than 1,200 feet of homers with his 25th, 26th and 27th of the season. He led off the fifth with a shot to center against Texas starter Kenny Rogers, homered to left with one on in the seventh against Jay Powell and to left-center against Juan Alvarez with two on in the eighth, giving him at least 100 runs batted in (101) for the third straight season. The Angels (94-55) swept the last-place Rangers (69-80) in the three-game series, winning their sixth in a row and 16th of 17.

They established a team single-season record for victories, breaking the mark set by the 1982 West championship club. The Angels moved a franchise-best 39 games above .500 on the day the Oakland Athletics lost to the Seattle Mariners and dropped out of the first-place tie the clubs had been in since Thursday.

In typical fashion, the stoic Glaus downplayed his big night. But he seemed pleased about the Angels' continued success.

"It doesn't really matter [about his homers]," said Glaus, who scored four runs. "We won the game. That's all we needed to do."

Starter Ramon Ortiz (14-9) pitched seven innings despite flu-like symptoms, giving up four runs in what Scioscia described as "a real good effort" under the circumstances. Rogers (13-8) and the rest of the Rangers' staff all pitched as if they were sick.

Glaus picked up the slack with sparkplug leadoff batter David Eckstein (hip flexor), top run producer Garret Anderson (strained right hamstring) and the emerging Adam Kennedy (flu) sidelined. He hit three homers in a game for the first time and matched his career high for RBIs in a game. He became the 10th Angel to hit three homers in a game, becoming the first since Dave Winfield did it April 13, 1991, against the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome.

Doug DeCinces is the only other Angel third baseman to hit at least three homers in a game, doing it twice in 1982.

The Angels have not been alone atop the division this late in a season since holding a one-game advantage over the Rangers on Sept. 15, 1998, in their 150th game. The entire cast has contributed to the Angels' stunning ascent after the worst start in franchise history (6-14), and Glaus punctuated the arrival, taking it to a new plateau.

"He did a great job, every one of those was big, and in the two hole of all places," said Scott Spiezio, who followed Glaus' homer in the fifth with his 11th homer to give the Angels a 7-3 lead. "People were giving him a hard time before the game, asking him if he was going to bunt guys over and things like that. I guess he didn't need to tonight."

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*--* Well-Seasoned The Angels won their 94th game Sunday, setting a franchise record for victories in a season. A look at their previous best seasons: Rec Year Result 93-69 1982 Lost to Milwaukee in ALCS 92-70 1986 Lost to Boston in ALCS 91-71 1989 Finished third, eight behind Oakland 90-72 1985 Finished second, one behind K.C 88-74 1979 Lost to Baltimore in ALCS

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