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Dan Haren gets win as Angels gain ground

Team moves to within 2 1/2 games of A's for last wild-card spot as Manager Mike Scioscia and GM Jerry Dipoto receive a guarantee they will return next season.

September 22, 2012|By Lance Pugmire

Mike Scioscia traded blown saves, tough baserunning decisions and a jeopardized playoff position for success and stability Saturday night.

The Angels manager received a guarantee from owner Arte Moreno that he and General Manager Jerry Dipoto will return next season.

The Angels then claimed a 4-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox to move to within 21/2 games of the Oakland Athletics for the American League's second wild-card spot with 10 games remaining.

"We know what we need to do," Scioscia said in the manager's office he has occupied for 13 years at Angel Stadium. "We want to be here for this championship we all feel will come.

"I have a commitment here. I have a passion for it. And I'm happy Arte feels the same way."

Right-hander Dan Haren (12-11) pitched six-plus innings for his fourth victory in five starts and closer Ernesto Frieri rallied from consecutive losses for his 20th save.

"I've had a great relationship with Mike, he's always had an open door for me and always tells me like it is," Haren said after winning at home for the first time since July 27. "I appreciate his honesty."

Right fielder Torii Hunter, who had a run-scoring single in a four-run first inning, said Scioscia's return "doesn't surprise me."

Scioscia is under contract through 2018 and Dipoto was given a five-year deal in October.

"He's got a contract, and he is the Angels," Hunter said of Scioscia. "I know Mike wants to honor that contract."

Team spokesman Tim Mead said that despite reports that Scioscia and Dipoto were on hot seats, the matter was never in doubt.

Moreno made the announcement about Scioscia and Dipoto on the team website before the game.

The decision to say it publicly followed speculation that Scioscia and Dipoto were in trouble for failing to direct a roster with a $155-million payroll to the playoffs.

Before the game, Scioscia reflected on a season that opened with slugger Albert Pujols going homerless in April while the team kept outfielder Mike Trout in triple-A Salt Lake for much of the month.

"When you look at 22 blown saves our inability to get these guys on board cost us some games," Scioscia said.

Scioscia declined to answer when Moreno informed him before Saturday that his job was safe.

"There's been a lot of things floating around, and a lot of those things were not accurate," Scioscia said. "Arte put an end to the chatter."

Scioscia said he understands veteran managers whose teams struggle to fulfill expectations are scrutinized for possibly losing their team.

"That time is not now," he said.

He also dismissed that past friction with Dipoto, notably over the general manager's firing of Scioscia friend and hitting coach Mickey Hatcher, has lingered.

"There's not a manager in baseball that doesn't have a candid conversation with his GM. Not a manager in baseball," Scioscia said.

Dipoto did not return messages left for him by The Times.

Pujols' run-scoring ground-rule double in the first inning was his 500th, making him one of 19 major leaguers in history with at least 500 doubles and 400 home runs.

1/2 games of the Oakland Athletics for the American League's second wild-card spot with 10 games remaining.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimespugmire

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