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Angels 4½ games back in wild-card

SEATTLE (AP) -- Garret Anderson and the Anaheim Angels made sure
they remained focused against the lowly Seattle Mariners.

Anderson hit a three-run homer to back Kelvim Escobar's seven
strong innings, leading the Angels to a 5-1 win Monday night.

"Anything we can get nowdays is good," said Anderson, who
added that the Mariners beat Boston twice in a four-game series.

"You can't look at them as a team that's not making
postseason," he said. "They're going out there to do the best
they can. They're trying to beat us."

The Angels moved 4½ games behind idle Boston in the AL wild-card
race, but they couldn't make up any ground on Oakland, which kept
its two-game lead over Anaheim in the division with a 7-6 victory
in 10 innings over Texas at home Monday night.

After the game, many Angels players were gathered around a TV in
their locker room watching the A's-Texas game.

"It's going to be a dogfight right to the end," Angels catcher
Bengie Molina said of the Oakland-Anaheim battle for the division
championship.

"We're just trying to win our games, that's all," Molina said.

Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki went hitless -- 0-for-4 with a walk -- for
the third time in four games, but still is on pace for 262 hits,
which would break the 84-year-old major league single-season record
of 257 set by Hall of Famer George Sisler.

Suzuki was asked if he was feeling the pressure of trying to
catch Sisler.

"It doesn't matter if it's the first or the 700th at-bat of the
year, there is always going to be pressure," he said. "It doesn't
matter who you are, you're going to have pressure."

Kelvim Escobar (10-10) became a double-digit winner for the
fourth time in his career, but lost his shutout bid when Jose Lopez
homered with two outs in the seventh. Escobar allowed one run and
six hits, walked one, threw a wild pitch and struck out seven.

Scot Shields got two outs in the eighth, and Francisco Rodriguez
got four outs for his 12th save in 19 chances.

Escobar has won three out of his last four starts and five out
of seven. Before that, he lost six of seven decisions.

"For some reason lately, I feel real good -- real strong," he
said. "I've been throwing a lot of strikes. That's been the key."

Anderson put the Angels ahead 4-0 with his 13th homer, his third
at Safeco Field and ninth on the road this season, in the third off
rookie Cha Seung Baek (1-3). It came after David Eckstein walked
and Vladimir Guerrero singled and was barely inside the right-field
foul pole.

"I didn't think it was going to go foul," Anderson said.

Manager Mike Scioscia said the 4-0 lead was just what Escobar
needed.

"The early runs were nice for Kelvim," Scioscia said. "He
hasn't been in a position like that for a long time when he can
relax and make pitches. That was a big hit from Garret."

In the second, Jose Guillen and Molina each doubled for
Anaheim's first run.

Guerrero got his 111th RBI in the seventh on a groundout that
put the Angels ahead 5-0.

Lopez, Seattle's 20-year-old rookie shortstop, hit his fifth
homer of the season in the seventh.

Baek, a rookie making his third major league start, pitched
seven innings and allowed five runs and eight hits.

Game notes
Escobar won 13 games for Toronto last season and 14 and 10
for the Blue Jays in 1999 and 2000, respectively. He was signed as
a free agent by the Angels last November. ... Mariners LF Raul
Ibanez threw out rookie Casey Kotchman at the plate to complete a
double play after Kotchman tried to score on Eckstein's line-drive
out in the fourth. It was Ibanez's ninth outfield assist of the
season. ... Kotchman, a rookie, played 1B for the Angels in place
of Darin Erstad, who came out of Sunday's game after four innings
because of lower back stiffness. Erstad is day-to-day. ... Suzuki
is hitting .154 (4-for-26) lifetime against Escobar. ... After the
game, Scioscia announced that Aaron Sele would stay in the Angels'
rotation and pitch Thursday night against the Mariners despite
being hit hard in his last two starts.