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Anderson takes Tigers up on it

His four-pitch, bases-loaded walk in 12th inning forces in the only run in Angels' 1-0 victory.

May 27, 2008|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

All the strategy in the world means nothing without execution. Garret Anderson took four pitches, and the Angels won.

Jim Leyland, the Detroit Tigers' manager, pushed several buttons to get his preferred matchup with the game on the line: Anderson, a left-handed batter, against Bobby Seay, a left-handed reliever.

And then Anderson just stood there. He took four pitches, good for a bases-loaded walk and the game-winning run batted in, and the Angels outlasted the Tigers for a 1-0 victory in 12 innings Monday night at Angel Stadium.

"I just kept my zone a small one, to try to force him to throw strikes," Anderson said. "He didn't throw one."

It is a good thing for the Angels they won in a walk, since they did not hit. They were hitless in 12 at-bats with men in scoring position.

And, for the 12th time in 13 games, they scored four runs or fewer. They're 8-5 in that stretch, and the Boston Red Sox are the only major league team with more victories than the Angels' 31.

"I see it as something good," Torii Hunter said. "In 162 games, you're going to struggle. In the month of May, we're struggling. But, guess what: We're winning."

Thank the pitching staff. The Angels stopped the Tigers on five hits over 12 innings, in a game started by Jon Garland and finished by Jose Arredondo.

Arredondo, the fourth Angels pitcher, worked two perfect innings for his first major league victory.

Maicer Izturis, hitless in his first five at-bats, singled to start the 12th inning. Gary Matthews Jr. lined out, but Vladimir Guerrero grounded a single into center field, and Izturis raced to third.

With the winning run at third base -- and with first base occupied -- the Tigers walked Hunter intentionally. That set up a possible force play at home as well as a double play, with the bases loaded for Anderson.

For the first time in 19 days, he walked.

The Angels' offense is sputtering, hampered by the prolonged absences of infielders Chone Figgins, Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar.

Kendrick could be back in a week or so, but Figgins could go back on the disabled list, and Aybar is already there. That leaves the Angels with Izturis, the shortstop, batting .208, in between third baseman Brandon Wood at .122 and second baseman Sean Rodriguez at .140.

"Right now, there are some kids going through some growing pains," Manager Mike Scioscia said.

With the scarcity of hitting, clutch or otherwise, Hunter almost manufactured a run for the Angels. With two out in the 10th inning, he singled. And then, when Detroit rookie Freddy Dolsi headed back atop the mound without checking his defense, Hunter noticed that neither second baseman Placido Polanco nor shortstop Edgar Renteria was covering second base. So Hunter stole the base.

"My instincts took over," Hunter said. "I saw two guys with their head down, and I took advantage.

"I'm a hyena. I always take advantage of the weak link."

Leyland argued that time was out, to no avail.

"There's no time out after a single," Hunter said.

The Tigers walked Anderson intentionally, but Dolsi appeared so flustered from Hunter's mischief that he threw a wild pitch on the intentional walk. That put Hunter at third base, but Mike Napoli grounded out and left him there.

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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