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Guerrero gives Angels a big boost

His three-run home run helps Adenhart beat the White Sox, 10-7, for first major league win.

May 13, 2008|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

Vladimir Guerrero pumped some dread back in those locks of his Monday night, delivering a not-so-subtle reminder that, despite his three-week power drought, he can still be one of baseball's most feared hitters.

The slumping slugger hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the fifth inning and had a run-scoring single in the sixth, his four RBIs equaling his RBI total for his previous 23 games combined, to lead the Angels to a 10-7 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Guerrero's big night helped the Angels end a four-game losing streak, and closer Francisco Rodriguez's 15th save -- he struck out A.J. Pierzynski looking at a changeup with two on to end the game -- preserved a lovely parting gift for rookie right-hander Nick Adenhart.

Adenhart survived a shaky three-run second inning to throw 5 2/3 innings, giving up four runs and nine hits, for his first big league win before being sent back to triple-A Salt Lake.

Reliever Jose Arredondo was recalled and the Angels will make another roster move to clear a spot for ace John Lackey, who will come off the disabled list to start Wednesday night.

"There's only one time for a first -- it's exciting for Nick and the guys are excited for him," said Manager Mike Scioscia, who gave Adenhart the scorecard from the game. "It's good that he was able to cut some baby teeth here. That will help him the next time he comes up."

What helped Adenhart most Monday night was Guerrero's clutch hitting. Guerrero was batting .195 (eight for 41) with two RBIs in his previous 41 at-bats when he came up with runners on second and third, one out, and the Angels trailing, 4-2, in the fifth.

Sean Rodriguez and Gary Matthews Jr. opened the inning with infield singles and advanced on Erick Aybar's sacrifice bunt.

With first base open, the White Sox elected to pitch to Guerrero, who crushed Mark Buehrle's 1-and-0 cut fastball over the wall in left-center field for a three-run home run, his fourth homer this season and first since April 25 at Detroit.

"He hit some bullets tonight," center fielder Torii Hunter said of Guerrero. "He got a cutter in, tucked his hands in and hit a home run. That was clutch. Tonight, he was right where he needs to be. If he stays that way? Oh my god, there's no telling where we'll be."

Guerrero's homer gave the Angels a 5-4 lead, but they weren't done. Robb Quinlan reached on an infield single and scored on Garret Anderson's triple to right-center field for a 6-4 lead.

Aybar's double in the sixth drove in Matthews, who reached on third baseman Joe Crede's error, and Guerrero followed with a run-scoring single to left-center field for an 8-4 lead.

Hunter added an infield single, both runners advanced on a wild pitch, and pinch-hitter Casey Kotchman greeted reliever Boone Logan with a two-run single to center field for a 10-4 lead.

"He felt much more comfortable in the box tonight," Scioscia said of Guerrero. "He's not quite locked in yet, but this was definitely a step in the right direction."

Adenhart made strides, as well, even though his first two innings looked like a carbon copy of his first two starts, Adenhart breezing through the first and hitting turbulence in the second.

After retiring Paul Konerko to start the second, Adenhart gave up a single to Jermaine Dye and walked Pierzynski. Nick Swisher singled to load the bases, Crede hit a run-scoring infield single, and Juan Uribe hit a broken-bat bloop that dropped for a two-run single and a 3-0 lead.

In his three starts for the Angels, Adenhart held opponents hitless in nine at-bats in the first inning but opponents went eight for 16 with seven walks in the second.

Adenhart gave up five hits but only one run over the next 3 2/3 innings, and Chris Bootcheck bailed him out of a sixth-inning jam by striking out Orlando Cabrera with the bases loaded to end the inning.

"It's nice to have that first win," Adenhart, 21, said. "This should help."

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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