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Angels Get Brushed Aside

Sele gives up eight runs as Anaheim misses chance to sweep three-game series from Yankees by losing, 10-4, in front of new owner Moreno.

May 16, 2003|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — If Arturo Moreno had wanted to watch a good comedy, there were plenty of more enticing -- and certainly more reasonably priced -- options available on Broadway.

As it was, the new Angel owner ventured to the Bronx on Thursday to check out his $183.5-million acquisition. He settled into a box seat alongside General Manager Bill Stoneman at Yankee Stadium as the Angels prepared to go for a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees.

One can only imagine if the conversation had become awkward by the third inning, when the exchange of pleasantries was over and the Angels trailed by seven runs during what devolved into a 10-4 defeat.

Among the early lowlights: Alfonso Soriano and Todd Zeile, at the top and bottom of the Yankee batting order, homered. Zeile managed a hit-and-run single -- on a pitchout. And Angel starter Aaron Sele, making $8 million this season, left after giving up eight runs over 2 2/3 innings in his second outing of the season.

Arturo, a self-made multimillionaire, might want to talk with Stoneman about return on his investment.

"When you can't throw your fastball for strikes and your breaking stuff is hanging and you're pitching against a good team, that's the way it's going to come out," said Sele, who gave up nine hits and issued two walks. "I threw one pitch that I considered a good, quality pitch all night."

Moreno, seated just beyond the Angel dugout on the third-base side, got to see one defensive gem when Angel third baseman Troy Glaus robbed Hideki Matsui of a base hit in the first inning. Glaus fielded Matsui's grounder just inside the third-base line and, with his momentum carrying him well into foul territory, threw him out.

The play was of little consequence, though, as the Yankees struck for four hits and three runs in the inning off Sele (1-1), whose outing ended a season-high streak of three consecutive quality starts by Angel pitchers.

"We never really gave ourselves a chance tonight," Angel Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We never got off the ground at all."

Even typically dependable reliever Scot Shields was roughed up for two runs over 1 1/3 innings in his worst outing of the season.

Soriano, the Yankee leadoff hitter who remained with the team despite the death of his father Wednesday, deposited a Sele fastball into the left-field seats in the first inning to set the tone. Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada followed with run-scoring singles that left the Angels in a three-run hole.

The most embarrassing moment for Sele came in the second, when Zeile drilled his pitchout to Bengie Molina for a hit-and-run single to move Raul Mondesi from first to third. Mondesi and Zeile eventually scored to make it 5-0.

Zeile added a two-run homer in the third.

"I don't expect things like that to happen," Sele said. "I expect to go out and repeat quality pitches and keep my team in the game."

The Angels got 10 hits and had plenty of scoring opportunities but stranded 10 baserunners. Jeff DaVanon had a career-high three hits, including a solo home run in the seventh that ended Yankee starter Jeff Weaver's streak of 52 consecutive innings to open the season without giving up a homer. By then, Moreno, whose purchase of the Angels was approved by baseball owners earlier in the day, was long gone. He might as well have been incognito sitting among a crowd of 29,670 that ignored him but enthusiastically cheered a scoreboard shot of "Monday Night Football" commentator John Madden in the stands.

"We had a dud tonight, but the energy level will shine through," Scioscia said. "It's an exciting club, it's a good ballclub, and we're going to play the type of baseball that we played last year."

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