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Angels increase wild-card lead to six games

9/12/2002

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Shawn Wooten was an unlikely hero for the
Anaheim Angels in perhaps their most important game so far this
season.

Wooten, getting a rare start against a right-hander with Troy
Glaus sidelined, hit a two-out, two-run double in the seventh
inning Wednesday night to give the Angels a 6-5 come-from-behind
victory over the Oakland Athletics.

The Angels won for the 12th time in 13 games to move within one
game of the A's in the AL West and extend their wild-card lead to
six games over Seattle.

"Yeah, I'd say so,'' the 30-year-old Wooten with a wide grin
said when asked if the hit was the biggest of his career.

"It seemed like a playoff game.''

Oakland lost for just the third time in 26 games despite taking
an early 4-0 lead and dropped consecutive games for the first time
since Aug. 11-12 -- immediately before starting its AL-record
20-game winning streak.

Wooten, who tied a club record with three doubles, hit the first
pitch from Jeff Tam (0-1) into the left-field corner to drive in
Garret Anderson, who hit a one-out single off Mike Venafro, and
Scott Spiezio, who drew a two-out walk off Tam.

"I think I had one other start against a righty this year,''
Wooten said. "Unfortunately, Troy got hurt. Someone had to step
up. Today it happened to be me. Yesterday it was Spiezio.''

Spiezio, who homered and drove in three runs in Anaheim's 5-2
victory on Tuesday night, played third base and Wooten first in the
last two games with Glaus out with a jammed left ring finger.
Spiezio normally plays first.

Wooten hit his first two doubles against right-hander Cory
Lidle. He had two hits and an RBI on Tuesday night.

Wooten is 26-of-82 this year including 12-for-31 against
right-handers. The three-hit game was his second of the season, as
was his two-RBI effort.

"Woot's a guy we've talked about trying to get more at-bats,''
Scioscia said. "It's a good time for him to step up.''

The Angels and A's play the finale of a four-game series
Thursday night, with left-hander Mark Mulder pitching for Oakland.

When asked if Wooten would play, Scioscia smiled and replied:
"Uh-huh, good chance of that.''

Scot Shields (4-3), who pitched 2 2/3 hitless innings, earned
the victory. Troy Percival, the fourth Angels pitcher, worked the
ninth for his 37th save in 41 chances.

"I was running on vapor tonight,'' Percival said after pitching
for the fourth time in six games. "I feel OK. It's a good position
to be in. When I'm up that many times, it means we're playing good
baseball.''

The Angels raised their record in one-run games to 27-17 while
the A's dropped to 28-10.

Miguel Tejada's RBI single snapped a 4-4 tie in the fifth and
chased rookie John Lackey, who had won six of his previous seven
starts. The A's didn't have another hit after that.

"Once their bullpen came in, they did a good job and shut us
down,'' A's manager Art Howe said. "They were able to get a couple
off our bullpen, and that was the difference.''

Oakland took its 4-0 lead in the third after the first two
batters were retired. Scott Hatteberg singled and scored on a
double by Tejada. Eric Chavez followed with an RBI single before
Jermaine Dye hit a 3-2 pitch into the left-field bullpen for his
19th homer.

The Angels tied it off Lidle in the fourth on an RBI single by
Spiezio, a sacrifice fly by Bengie Molina, a bloop double by Adam
Kennedy and a suicide squeeze by David Eckstein.

Lackey allowed seven hits and a career-high five earned runs in
4 1/3 innings. Lidle gave up eight hits and four runs in five
innings.

"We're still playing good ball, but we're playing good teams,''
Lidle said. "When we started that streak, we weren't playing
particularly tough teams.''

A patriotic 20-minute ceremony was held before the game to mark
the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

A large American flag was unfurled by local police, fire
department and emergency medical technicians over the mound
stretching nearly from third to first base while Robbie Britt sang
"America the Beautiful.''

A moment of silence was observed at 9:11 p.m., followed by a
video presentation.

Game notes
Commemorative Sept. 11 T-shirts were given to everyone
attending the game, and fans began waving them in unison during the
Angels' fourth-inning rally. ... Citing a lack of sufficient
evidence, the Orange County district attorney's office said it
won't file charges against Angels LHP Jarrod Washburn in an alleged
sexual assault case. Washburn (17-5) will take his normal turn,
pitching Friday night against Texas. ... Tejada's two hits gave him
187 this season, tying him for the Oakland team record set by Jose
Canseco in 1988. The A's moved from Kansas City to Oakland 34 years
ago. ... The Angels blew several scoring chances and left 10
runners on base to only three for the A's.