PHILADELPHIA -- A train in vain, it wasn't.
The Angels shunned their usual mode of air travel for a ride on the railways Sunday evening, chartering a train for the 130-mile trip from Philadelphia to Washington, but not before rolling over the National League East-leading Phillies in Citizens Bank Park.
Jered Weaver survived a harrowing first inning to throw 5 1/3 one-run, four-hit innings, Casey Kotchman blasted a prodigious two-run home run, and Scot Shields had 1 2/3 innings of dominant relief to highlight a 3-2 victory that completed a three-game sweep.
Philadelphia has three players with 18 home runs or more, but the Angels out-homered the Phillies, 5-1, in the series. Philadelphia ranks second in the NL in runs, but the Angels held the Phillies to five runs and a .140 average (13 for 93).
Angels starters Ervin Santana, Joe Saunders and Weaver combined for a 3-0 record with a 1.40 earned-run average.
After uncharacteristically committing four errors Friday, the Angels made several superb plays Saturday and Sunday, including left fielder Reggie Willits' backhanded diving catch of Pat Burrell's sinking liner in the eighth inning Sunday.
"I think this shows the quality of our overall game," third baseman Chone Figgins said. "We pitched, we played good defense and got some clutch hits."
The Angels don't often dazzle you with offense. No Angels hitter ranks among the league leaders in average, runs, home runs and runs batted in.
They make their share of fine plays, but outside of shortstop Erick Aybar, who was spectacular before sitting out most of the last month because of a finger injury, they don't show up nightly on ESPN's "Web Gems" segment.
And though Saunders leads the league with 11 wins, and closer Francisco Rodriguez, who retired So Taguchi with two on to end Sunday's game, leads the major leagues with 30 saves, the Angels rank only sixth in the AL in ERA.
All of which allows the Angels to fly a bit under the radar from a national-media standpoint, not that they mind or care.
"You know what I think it is? Because we play the game well, people overlook us," Figgins said. "We don't do anything explosive. We don't score 80 runs; we score six or seven, play defense and pitch. To a lot of people, that's not overly exciting, until you get to the park. Then the fans realize it and say, 'These guys are tough.' "
The Angels sent another sellout crowd home Sunday on its collective head. The Phillies put runners on second and third with one out in the first inning, but Weaver won a 12-pitch battle with Ryan Howard, whiffing the cleanup batter with a changeup, and struck out Burrell with his 28th pitch of the inning to escape damage.
A run-scoring single by Gary Matthews Jr. gave the Angels a 1-0 lead in the second inning, and Kotchman, facing one of the better left-handers in the game in Cole Hamels, crushed his eighth homer of the season off the Bud Light sign hanging from the second deck, a shot that traveled an estimated 402 feet and made it 3-0.
"Kotch really squared that one up," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "That ball was properly hit. It went a long way."
The Phillies scored in the third inning when Chase Utley doubled, ending an 0-for-24 streak, and Howard hit a run-scoring single, but that was all they mustered against Weaver, who struck out six and walked three to improve his record to 7-7.
"To get out of that first inning after being in trouble was the key," Weaver said. "It was hot out there [84 degrees], but I battled."
Left-hander Darren Oliver gave up a run-scoring double to Jimmy Rollins in the seventh inning, but Shields came on to strike out pinch-hitter Chris Coste and Utley to end the inning.
Shields retired the side in order in the eighth, extending his scoreless streak to 14 innings, and Rodriguez got Taguchi to pop up a 2-and-0 slider for his 30th save in 32 chances, as the Angels improved their major league-best road record to 24-12.
Rodriguez got his 30th save in his team's 76th game, the fastest of any pitcher in major league history.
"The way the pitchers performed this series," Scioscia said, "they were just lights out."
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THE MAJORS' BEST ROAD SHOW
The Angels have won eight of their last nine road games and own the best road record in the majors at 24-12. A look at the Angels' road results in June:
No. 9 hitter Jeff Mathis hits a two-run homer in the third inning to get the offense started.
Left-hander Joe Saunders becomes the American League's first nine-game winner.
Torii Hunter drives in two runs with a first-inning single and
the Angels never trail.
Right-hander John Lackey gives up a first-inning single, then retires 15
in a row.
Maicer Izturis opens the game with a home run. Jon Garland holds the A's to two runs.
Chris Bootcheck gives up a walk-off grand slam
in the 12th inning to
Offense is led by Vladimir Guerrero, who hits his 11th home run
and drives in three runs.
Erick Aybar's two-run home run helps Saunders notch his AL-best 11th victory.
Jered Weaver gives up one run in 5 1/3 innings. Francisco Rodriguez gets 30th save.