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Washburn beats Rangers to end tough week

9/14/2002

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Able to focus completely on his pitching
for the first time in almost two weeks, Jarrod Washburn became the
Angels' first 18-game winner since 1991.

"I was a little anxious to see what kind of reaction I would
get. It was answered quickly when I went out to warm up and heard
fans saying, 'We're behind you' and 'Go get 'em,'' Washburn said
Friday night after Anaheim beat Texas 3-2 to remain tied with
Oakland for the AL West lead.

"Once I got out on the mound, it was business as usual, just trying to get guys out.''

Earlier this week, Washburn dealt with being investigated for an
alleged sexual assault. The pitcher was never arrested and the
Orange County district attorney's office declined to file charges,
saying the case had been thoroughly reviewed and was being rejected
"based on lack of sufficient evidence at this time.''

Washburn (18-5) became the Angels' top winner since 1991, when
Mark Langston won 19 games and Chuck Finley and Jim Abbott each had
18 victories.

Washburn allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits, walked none
and struck out five in 7 1/3 innings as the Angels won their fourth
straight and 14th of the last 15.

He smiled and tipped his cap to the crowd of 35,345 as he walked off the field in the eighth inning. He got a standing ovation, and said later, "I'm glad I pitched well enough to get one.''

The Rangers' Ivan Rodriguez didn't see any difference in
Washburn.

"He's a great pitcher and a very aggressive pitcher. That
problem that happened to him didn't affect him at all,'' Rodriguez
said.

Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia also thought Washburn was
completely focused, saying, "He was great. He didn't go out there
with any baggage or distractions.''

The Angels' victory helped them pick up a game in the wild-card
standings as Oakland beat Seattle to drop the Mariners eight games
behind the division co-leaders.

The Angels' 92nd win also moved them within one victory of the
club record set in 1982 under Gene Mauch.

Anaheim's Troy Percival pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 38th
save in 42 chances.

Garret Anderson and Adam Kennedy had RBI singles off Joaquin
Benoit (3-4) and David Eckstein's sacrifice fly provided the other
run for Anaheim, which did all its scoring in the first four
innings.

Kennedy's RBI single gave Anaheim a 3-1 lead in the fourth, but
the Rangers' Todd Greene cut the deficit to one run with a solo
home run off Washburn in the fifth. The Angels went up 2-1 in the
third on Eckstein's sacrifice fly and Anderson's run-scoring
single.

Alex Rodriguez singled with two out in the first inning and came home as Kennedy dropped Anderson's throw to second when Rafael Palmeiro doubled.

Game notes
Texas was coming off a four-game sweep of Seattle. ... The Angels plan to conduct an internal investigation into the
allegations against Washburn, with the organization concerned about any possible security breakdowns at the stadium, said Tim Mead, Angels' vice president of communications. He said all findings will be confidential because it is an employer-employee matter. ... Washburn has won all three of his starts since the allegations were made against him. ... The Angels' 17-win improvement over last season broke the previous club record of 16 following a 162-game season -- accomplished in 1962 and 1989. ... Greene was at DH after leaving Thursday's game in the eighth inning when he was hit on the right cheekbone by a foul tip. ... Ruben Rivera's single for Texas in the fifth inning ended an 0-for-18 streak and snapped his string of striking out in eight consecutive at-bats.