SEATTLE (AP) -- The frustrating 16-year wait for the Angels to get back to the postseason is almost over.
Tim Salmon, Garret Anderson and Brad Fullmer homered, and Anaheim cut the magic number to one for its first playoff berth since 1986 with an 8-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.The Angels (96-58) can clinch no worse than the AL wild card
with a victory Saturday over the defending AL West champions.
Oakland (97-57) maintained a one-game division and clinched a
postseason berth with a 4-2 win over Texas."It's been a long time for me. I know we're close. I know it's
right there for the taking, but I need to stay focused,'' said the
34-year-old Salmon, who joined the Angels in 1992.Fittingly, the Angels can clinch in Seattle, where they lost a one-game playoff for the AL West title in October 1995. The Mariners trailed by 13 games on Aug. 13 that season."For me personally, anywhere, I'll take it,'' Salmon said.
"There's nothing vindictive about it for me. I don't care if it
happens here or Texas or at home. I just want it to happen.''Last year, the Angels finished 41 games behind Seattle in the AL
West race."It's important in this game to celebrate an achievement,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "There's so much energy and effort that goes into this that it is important to celebrate an achievement.''Anaheim, coming off three losses in a four-game series at
Oakland, battered Joel Pineiro (14-7) for seven runs -- six earned -- and eight hits in five innings. All three Angels' homers came off Pineiro.Ramon Ortiz (15-9) improved to 6-0 in eight starts since an Aug.
9 loss at Toronto, giving up one run and five hits in seven
innings."I made a lot of good pitches tonight,'' Ortiz said. "I feel
very good.''Seattle's Mike Cameron was impressed.
"The guy was throwing a lot of strikes,'' he said. "He was
throwing everything up there. He even threw a couple of
kitchen-sink balls at us.''Ortiz wants more than the wild-card berth."I want to win the division,'' he said. "That would be very nice for Anaheim.''Salmon put Anaheim ahead in the first with a 446-foot solo shot to center, then made it 5-1 in the fourth as Anderson and Fullmer hit two-run homers. Anderson's homer was a team-record 86th extra-base hit, one more than Troy Glaus."When I hit it, I knew I hit it good, but I wasn't taking it for granted,'' Salmon said. "I was running hard.''Salmon had an RBI double and Anderson singled in a run in the
fifth. The Angels added their final run in the seventh when
shortstop Desi Relaford misplayed Anderson's grounder for his
second error of the game.Ichiro Suzuki tripled to lead off the game and scored on Mike Cameron's sacrifice fly."It wasn't a good game today,'' Seattle manager Lou Piniella
said. "We didn't hit very well, we didn't pitch very well and we
didn't field very well. Actually, it might have been our worst game
of the year.''
The Angels, in their 42nd season, have qualified for the
postseason in 1979, 1982 and 1986. ... The Angels sent RHP Pedro
Liriano to Milwaukee as a player to be named in a July 30 trade.
Liriano pitched at Class A Rancho Cucamonga this season, going
10-14 with a 3.60 ERA in 28 starts. The Angels obtained OF Alex
Ochoa and C Sal Fasano and gave up C Jorge Fabregas and INF Johnny
Raburn. ... David Eckstein of the Angels ended an 0-for-16 slump
with a single in the fifth. ... Pineiro also gave up three homers
Aug. 7 at Toronto. ... Suzuki tripled for the eighth time this
season, matching his total last year. ... The Mariners had their
35th sellout of the season. ... The Angels are 18-3 when Salmon