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Vlad leads the charge with two RBI

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The Los Angeles Angels are fortunate to
have John Lackey in a winning groove, because Jarrod Washburn won't
be available for a while.

Vladimir Guerrero had a pair of run-scoring doubles, giving him
900 career RBI, and Garret Anderson and Jose Molina both hit
two-run singles to lead the Angels past the Baltimore Orioles 8-4
Wednesday night.

But the news was not all good for the AL West leaders, who
placed Washburn on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in
his left elbow after increasing their division lead to two games
over Oakland. The move was retroactive to July 25.

"It would be a huge hit if we lost him for a long time,"
Lackey said. "The guy's having a great year. He's got a great ERA
and could have quite a few more wins. He's really pitched well for
us."

Washburn is 6-6 despite a tidy 3.28 ERA, the sixth-best in the
AL entering Wednesday. The left-hander had a bullpen session before
the game, but the club decided it was best to DL him and give him
the appropriate attention.

Chris Bootcheck is expected to make his second start in
Washburn's place on Saturday against Tampa Bay. He made his second
major league start on Sunday at Yankee Stadium, allowing a run and
five hits in six innings and finishing with a no-decision after
handing a 4-1 lead to the bullpen.

"Structurally, everything's OK with Wash, but he's got a little
inflammation in there and we don't want it to get any worse. That's
why we've been taking every precaution we can," manager Mike
Scioscia said. "He needs a little more time to see if it'll calm
down some more. Hopefully, we can keep this at a minimum for the
rest of the season with some anti-inflammatory medication.

"If this was a situation where he had to pitch, we're confident
that he could pitch. So I don't think there's going to be an issue
with him stepping back from his turn or getting back out there
later next week."

Lackey (9-4) improved to 3-0 in his last four starts, allowing
three runs -- two earned -- and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. That
stretch included a no-decision against Toronto last Thursday, when
he pitched eight scoreless innings before the Angels lost 2-1 in 18
innings.

Lackey walked three and struck out seven, including Miguel
Tejada his first three times up. Tejada, who leads Baltimore with
70 RBI, entered the game averaging a strikeout every 9.8 plate
appearances -- eighth-best in the AL.

"It was kind of a battle tonight," Lackey said. "I didn't
feel like I had my best stuff, but the biggest key was definitely
the way the guys kept scoring a lot of runs after I gave up the
first two."

Brian Roberts had two RBI, Jay Gibbons an RBI double and Javy
Lopez an RBI single for the Orioles, who have lost a season-worst
eight straight and 14 of 15 to fall five games under .500 and 10½
games out of first in the AL East -- their largest deficit of the
season.

Rafael Palmeiro sat out his third game of a 10-game suspension
after testing positive for steroids, leaving the Orioles groping
for offense.

"It's not like you can sit in a corner and pout," Roberts
said. "You go out there and lay it on the line every night and
make the best that you can out of every situation. We're certainly
not counting ourselves out, but there definitely are some things
that we need to change.

"It's such a long season that you're going to have those
stretches where you just can't do anything right, so you've got to
battle through it. We don't have a choice."

Erik Bedard (5-4) was charged with seven runs, eight hits and
four walks in 4 1/3 innings -- just the second time in 13 starts
this season he allowed more than three earned runs. Bedard had the
AL's second-best ERA (2.08) when he went on the disabled list May
22 with a sprained left knee. But in four starts since his return,
the left-hander is 0-3 with a 5.49 ERA.

Angels rookie Maicer Izturis fouled out to catcher Lopez while
trying to bunt Jose Molina to second in the fifth inning. But it
hardly mattered, as seven of the next eight batters reached base
and the Angels scored six runs -- tying a season high for one inning
-- to take a 7-2 lead.

Orlando Cabrera and Darin Erstad hit RBI singles and Anderson
singled home two more on an 0-2 pitch after Bedard walked Guerrero
to load the bases. Molina also came up with the bases loaded and
greeted Chris Ray with a two-run single that capped the rally.

Guerrero opened the scoring in the first with a two-out double
after a leadoff single by Chone Figgins that extended his hitting
streak to 13 games, equaling a career best. Another two-out double
by Guerrero in the sixth extended the Angels' lead to 8-3 and gave
the reigning AL MVP 35 RBI in his last 32 games.

Game notes
The Orioles' next stop on their six-game road trip is
Texas. Sammy Sosa, who has played once at Ameriquest Field -- the
1995 All-Star game -- has homered in 42 different ballparks. The
record is 43, by Fred McGriff. ... Lackey has 141 strikeouts, just
three fewer than his total in 198 1/3 innings last season.