ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- If the Los Angeles Angels expect to win
their second straight AL West title, they will need contributions
from everyone -- from MVP Vladimir Guerrero right down to the last
guy on the bench. That's where Robb Quinlan can be found.
Quinlan singled past a drawn-in infield as a pinch hitter in the
12th inning with the bases loaded, giving the Angels a 7-6 victory
over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night and sole possession of the
division lead by one game over Oakland.
Chris Shelton, Placido Polanco and Carlos Pena accounted for all
of Detroit's runs with homers against John Lackey, who had allowed
only two home runs in his previous 17 starts -- and none in nine
consecutive starts at Angel Stadium.
"I think it's a huge positive for us, because we haven't won
too many games lately when the starting pitcher hasn't done well,"
said Lackey, who allowed six runs, seven hits and no walks in seven
innings. "The offense really picked me up tonight."
Guerrero led off the 12th with a single and took second when Vic
Darensbourg (1-1) fielded Darin Erstad's sacrifice bunt and pulled
Shelton off first base with his throw. The runners advanced on
Bengie Molina's bunt, and Maicer Izturis was intentionally walked
before Quinlan, batting for Jeff DaVanon, singled sharply to left.
"I was just looking for something up early in the count and I
got a little slider up in the zone," Quinlan said. "I was
thinking of trying to drive it to the outfield and it got a tad in
on me, but I got the job done. I was stretching six different times
during the game, but you never know when an opportunity like that
is going to come."
Quinlan's clutch hit raised his average to .221. He has played
in just 46 games and has 12 RBI. Last season he set an Angels
rookie record with a 21-game hitting streak, but got off to a
miserable start this season, was sent to the minors and then spent
almost two months on the disabled list with a bulging disc in his
neck -- along with inflammation in his left shoulder.
"I was hurt, but that doesn't account for the first part of the
season when I wasn't playing that good," Quinlan said. "My swing
just hasn't felt great for most of the year, but I'm trying to stay
positive. After missing a month and a half with an injury, I was
really trying to turn the last month and a half of the season into
Kelvim Escobar (3-2) allowed one hit over three innings for his
first victory as a reliever since joining the Angels. It was his
fourth appearance since coming off the disabled list.
Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez pitched a shaky ninth,
striking out Brandon Inge on three pitches with the bases loaded
after giving up a two-out single and a pair of walks. He then
struck out the side in the 10th.
"We had a lot of guys in our 'pen step up," manager Mike
Scioscia said. "Kelvim just shined the whole night. That's one of
the big reasons why we have him for depth down there, and tonight
it certainly paid off."
German allowed the Angels to tie it in the seventh with a
run-scoring groundout by Garret Anderson and an RBI single by
Guerrero. The reigning AL MVP, who jammed his left shoulder diving
for a ball in right field on Thursday night, was 3-for-6 as the DH.
Shelton hit a two-run homer in the first inning, the first off
Lackey at Anaheim in 87 2-3 innings since Ronnie Belliard's on May
"I can't explain it," Inge said. "I thought we hit Lackey
really well. I know he's been pitching well lately."
Lackey retired 15 consecutive batters before Polanco homered off
the left-field pole in the sixth. Four batters later, Pena's
three-run homer put Detroit ahead 6-4.
"I just left a few pitches up," Lackey said. "The first one
was a fastball I didn't quite get in enough. The second one I was
behind in the count and I just wanted to throw a strike. Then I
hung a changeup on the last one."
Tigers injured closer Troy Percival found out from Angels
team physician Dr. Lewis Yocum that he won't need surgery on his
right elbow, which likely would have forced him to retire at age
36. ... Figgins, who scored on Anderson's groundout during a
three-run fifth, became the first player in the Angels' 45-year
history to score 100 runs and steal 50 bases in the same season.
They are 126-53 when Figgins has scored a run since the start of
the 2002 season. ... The Tigers have hit six homers in the first
two games of the series, after getting only four in 201 at-bats
during the first six meetings this season back in May. ... Detroit
RHP Fernando Rodney, who returned to the club Friday from Lakeland,
Fla., following the birth of his son, retired Orlando Cabrera on a
line drive to shortstop to strand a runner at third base in the
eighth. ... Polanco, the Tigers' leadoff hitter, is batting .341 in
73 games since joining the Tigers on June 8 in a trade that sent
Ugueth Urbina and Ramon Martinez to Philadelphia. ... Anderson hit
his 400th career double in the fourth, but was out at the plate
trying to advance two bases on Molina's infield single.