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Salmon's shot helps Angels stay even with A's

9/14/2002

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Same story, different hero for the
streaking Anaheim Angels.

This time it was Tim Salmon who hit a go-ahead three-run homer
in the fifth inning and the Angels tied a club record with their
93rd victory, beating the Texas Rangers 8-6 Saturday for their 15th
win in 16 games.

"I guess today was my turn. It's real special being down 5-0
and coming back like we did,'' said Salmon, who homered for the
first time since Aug. 6 at Chicago. "We've got a club that just
never quits and plays hard. I think that's what every guy wants to
be a part of.''

The Angels, who have won five straight, remained tied with
Oakland for first place in the AL West, while Seattle slipped to
nine games off the pace in the wild card race with a 1-0 loss to
the Athletics. Anaheim's victory tied the club record set in 1982
when the Angels won the second of their three division titles.

The Angels' 42 comeback wins are tied for first in the AL with
the Chicago White Sox.

"They don't panic. They methodically keep playing the game,''
said Mike Scioscia, who won his 250th career game as Anaheim
manager. "Our bullpen did a terrific job. We get contributions up
and down our lineup. That's why we've been having a much better
year offensively.''

Salmon homered over the center-field wall off Todd Van Poppel
(3-2) with two outs in the fifth to give the Angels a 7-6 lead.
Salmon's 19th homer made up for his at-bat in the third inning when
he flied to right with the bases loaded.

"I said if that ball doesn't get out, I'm quitting,'' Salmon
said, laughing. "I thought the ball hit to right field, I didn't
hit that too bad, day game, let's see where it goes and I'm like
dang, it didn't even get to the track. It's been a funny year with
home runs for me and for our club.''

Adam Kennedy hit a solo homer with two outs in the eighth to
make it 8-6.

Scot Shields (5-3) pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief, struck out
two and walked two for the victory. Troy Percival pitched the ninth
for his 39th save in 43 opportunities.

"That whole bullpen has been reliable,'' Percival said. "If it
wasn't for them, I'd be out there in the eighth a lot more and I
wouldn't feel fresh. It's a very resilient bunch. I love watching
these guys play.''

Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro hit back-to-back homers and
Carl Everett added a two-run shot one out later in the first inning
when the Rangers rocked Kevin Appier for five runs.

"When you go up 5-0 in the first, you would think we would win
that game. But they battled hard and just kept finding ways to come
back,'' Rodriguez said. "The difference I see in the Angels this
year from last year is pitching and defense. It always starts and
ends with pitching.''

When Anaheim's starters don't get the job done, the bullpen
does. It has allowed just three earned runs in its last 47 2/3
innings pitched and has 52 saves, tying the club record set in
1988.

"I'm very impressed,'' Texas manager Jerry Narron said. "I
think what's really separated them from their teams of the past is
that their middle relievers and their setup guys have been very
good.''

After Mike Lamb singled, Rodriguez hit his major league-leading
55th homer to center field to give Texas a 2-0 lead. Rodriguez
broke a tie with Mickey Mantle for the eighth-highest home run
total in AL history.

Rodriguez needs six homers in Texas' final 14 games to break
Roger Maris' AL record.

"It's a very special record, obviously, but I'm not thinking
about 61,'' he said. "The minute I start thinking about individual
things, then I'm compromising the way I play, and I would never do
that.''

Palmeiro followed with a solo shot to right on the next pitch,
marking the fifth time this season that Rodriguez and Palmeiro have
homered back-to-back.

The Angels made it 5-2 in the second on a two-run homer by Shawn
Wooten that scored Garret Anderson, who led off with a double.
Anderson left the game in the fifth with a mild right hamstring
strain that occurred when he beat out an infield hit to shortstop
in the third. He's day-to-day.

Anaheim got within 5-4 in the third on Scott Spiezio's RBI
single after Kennedy led off with a walk and Darin Erstad doubled
down the right field line.

The Rangers extended their lead to 6-4 on Lamb's sacrifice fly
off Dennis Cook in the fourth.

Appier gave up six runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings, struck
out four and walked two.

Texas' Dennys Reyes, who has a mild case of strep throat,
allowed six runs on 10 hits starting in place of Aaron Myette, who
was recently demoted to the bullpen.

Game notes
Rodriguez' homer was his 32nd against Anaheim, the most
against any opponent. ... Texas' three homers in the first tied the
club record for the third time this season. ... Rodriguez and
Palmeiro have homered in the same game 14 times this season. ...
The Angels are 30-17 in one-run games, the most in the majors. ...
Due to an official scoring change, an error charged to Anaheim 2B
Kennedy in Friday's first inning was given to left fielder Anderson
for bouncing a throw to second that Kennedy couldn't handle. The
error allowed Alex Rodriguez to score.