Series: Game 1 of 4

Anaheim leads 1-0 (as of 6/21)

Game 1: Monday, June 21
Game 2: Tuesday, June 22
Game 3: Wednesday, June 23
Game 4: Thursday, June 24

Athletics 3

(38-30, 15-20 away)

Angels 10

(38-31, 21-14 home)

    10:05 PM ET, June 21, 2004

    Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California 

    123456789 R H E
    OAK 000020001 3 9 0
    ANA 00004114 - 10 13 1

    W: J. Lackey (5-8)

    L: R. Harden (3-5)

    A's now tied with Rangers in AL West

    ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The Oakland Athletics weren't able to compete with the Anaheim Angels in the free agent market last winter. They haven't done much better against them on the field, either.

    The Angels have won five of seven meetings against their AL West rivals, including a 10-3 romp Monday night that kicked off a four-game series.

    Vladimir Guerrero, who signed a five-year, $70 million contract in January, went 4-for-5 with a homer and four RBI to raise his total to 62 and tie Boston's David Ortiz for the league lead.

    John Lackey

    Vladimir Guerrero

    "You always want to play well against teams in your own division," pitcher John Lackey said following his second victory in his last eight starts. "The way we've been playing lately, it's just nice to get a win against anybody."

    Cleveland beat Chicago 5-1 in the only other AL game.

    The Angels -- beginning a 10-game stretch in which they will play Oakland seven times -- had won just four of their previous 15 games after holding a three-game lead over Oakland on June 3. The A's sixth loss in their last seven games overall dropped them into a first-place tie in the AL West with the idle Texas Rangers, a full game ahead of Anaheim.

    "We're still in a real good position and we haven't played our best baseball yet," Oakland left fielder Eric Byrnes said. "It seems like it's either the pitching that's picking us up one night and the offense another night.

    "We've had kind of flashes of brilliance, but once we get things going and put everything together, I think we have as good a chance as anybody to win the division."

    The Angels, who swept the A's in a three-game series in Oakland the last time they met in late April, took a 4-2 lead in the fifth against Rich Harden after falling behind on Marco Scutaro's two-run single in the top of the inning.

    David Eckstein tied the score with a two-run double, slicing a 3-2 pitch inside the right-field line on a hit-and-run. Guerrero drove in Eckstein with a hard ground single off the glove of second baseman Scutaro, and came around on Garret Anderson's double.

    Bengie Molina made it 5-2 in the sixth with an RBI double that chased Harden (3-5). The right-hander allowed five runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings, struck out five and walked two.

    "Harden was doing a good job against us for the first four innings, but we started getting better at-bats," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We laid off some pitches and drew some deep counts to get Harden's pitch count up to where he was tiring and we were able to break through."

    Guerrero hit a 1-0 pitch from Justin Duchscherer to center field in the seventh for his 17th homer. In the eighth, he greeted submarine-throwing Chad Bradford with a bases-loaded two-run double inside the left-field line. The four-hit game was the 13th for Guerrero, who set an Angels record with nine RBI on June 2 against Boston.

    "He's a superstar, and you've got to expect those things out of people like that," Lackey said. "He's such a great teammate because he doesn't act like a superstar. He works as hard as anybody."

    Guerrero's bat helped awaken a sluggish offense that was 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position in Sunday's 3-1 loss at Houston.

    "We've got a lot of confidence in our offense," Scioscia said. "For the last three weeks, it's been frustrating for a lot of guys in this room, but we feel we're going to score enough runs. And if we can continue to pitch well, that's the formula we're looking for."

    Lackey (5-8) allowed two runs and seven hits in eight innings. The right-hander struck out four and walked none.

    Jose Guillen capped Anaheim's four-run eighth with a bases-loaded two-run single after an intentional walk to Anderson.< ^Indians 5, White Sox 1=

    At Chicago, C.C. Sabathia allowed one run in eight impressive innings, and Ronnie Belliard and Casey Blake homered in the first inning for Cleveland.

    Victor Martinez had a career-high four hits for the Indians, who moved within two games of the White Sox for second place in the AL Central.

    Sabathia (5-3) scattered four hits, struck out four and walked one. He also lowered his ERA from 2.95 to 2.80 -- second in the AL to Oakland's Tim Hudson (2.78).

    Matt Miller pitched a perfect ninth to complete the four-hitter.

    Scott Schoeneweis (5-6) took the loss.<

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press