ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The Los Angeles Angels stayed patient
against a determined Detroit bullpen and gave themselves a little
more breathing room in the AL West.
Garret Anderson capped a three-run eighth inning with a two-run
ground rule double and Ervin Santana pitched eight strong innings,
leading the Angels to a 3-1 victory over the Tigers on Saturday
The win, coupled with Oakland's second straight one-run loss at
Boston, extended the Angels' division lead to two games over the
"Two days ago, we had just lost four straight and were tied
with Oakland. Now we're back to a two-game lead," second baseman
Adam Kennedy said. "But as much as you pay attention to what
they're doing, you can't really worry about that."
The Tigers, 22 games out in the AL Central and 13 games under
.500, haven't made it easy for the Angels during the four-game
series. They won the first game 8-6 with three home runs, then lost
the second in 12 innings despite hitting three more homers.
"Despite their record, they make it tough on you," Kennedy
said. "Everybody in this league comes to play, especially now.
They understand the stakes for us, so they're not laying down."
Santana (9-8) allowed a run and four hits, including Marcus
Thames' third-inning home run, and tied a career high with seven
strikeouts. He walked three and held Detroit to one hit over his
final five innings before Francisco Rodriguez pitched a hitless
ninth for his 37th save in 42 attempts.
"Ervin really stepped up and pitched to his potential at a key
time, especially after a couple of tough starts," manager Mike
Scioscia said. "He had a good game plan coming in. His ball-strike
ratio was terrific early and it got him some outs. He was very
efficient in the early going and he finished strong."
Detroit's pitching staff retired 17 consecutive batters before
Maicer Izturis reached in the eighth on a one-out a broken-bat
single that bounced over the mound and left second baseman Placido
Polanco with no chance to throw him out. Chris Spurling (3-3)
walked Kennedy and was replaced by closer Fernando Rodney, who
walked Chone Figgins on four pitches to load the bases.
Orlando Cabrera beat the relay to first from Polanco on a slowly
hit fielder's choice grounder to shortstop John McDonald, allowing
Izturis to score the tying run. Anderson followed with a ground
rule double into the right field corner on a 2-1 pitch. It scored
Kennedy and Cabrera, who stole second before the hit.
"That's not pressure right there," Anderson said. "The
hitter's never under pressure. The pitcher's the one who's under
pressure because he's the one who has to make the pitch to get me
out. I just wanted to hit the ball hard and hopefully find a hole.
Fortunately, I put the ball in a good spot."
Mark Woodyard, thrust into his first major league game after an
early injury to starting pitcher Roman Colon, threw 2 2-3 scoreless
innings and would have been credited with the victory had the
Tigers hung on.
Colon, making his seventh career start and third with Detroit,
faced only three batters and left with shoulder stiffness after
striking out Anderson with his 14th pitch. Woodyard, given as much
time as he needed to warm up, retired eight of the 10 batters he
faced and gave up consecutive two-out singles in the second inning
by Juan Rivera and Izturis.
The 26-year-old right-hander, one of three pitchers called up
from Triple-A Toledo on Thursday night after the Mud Hens won the
International League championship, was selected by Detroit in the
fourth round of the June 2000 draft out of Bethune-Cookman.
Woodyard was 5-2 with a 3.84 ERA in 45 regular-season games for
Toledo this year. The first batter he faced in the big leagues was
AL MVP Vladimir Guerrero, who grounded out to shortstop on the
second pitch with a runner on first.
"Mark's been pumped up ever since we got on the plane to
Anaheim," Thames said. "He had the jitters at first, but after he
got the first guy out, he settled down a little bit and he looked
poised out there. He has a lot of confidence in himself. He was
throwing the same way he was throwing down there and getting their
guys to do the same thing."
Thames, also called up from Toledo along with Woodyard, Jason
Grilli and Jason Karnuth, drove a 2-2 pitch over the fence in
left-center leading off the third inning. It was his seventh homer
for the Tigers this season and his first since May 24 at Yankee
Stadium against Buddy Groom. Five of Thames' previous nine hits for
the Tigers also were home runs.
The Tigers would have to go 15-0 the rest of the way to
avoid their 12th straight losing season. Their longest winning
streak is five games. ... Tigers RHP Jeremy Bonderman is scheduled
to start Monday night at Kansas City after missing two starts
because of a sore elbow. ... Polanco has not struck out in his last
73 plate appearances. He has fanned just 12 times in 300 at-bats
this season -- the fewest by any Tigers player with at least 250
at-bats since 1953, when Johnny Pesky fanned 10 times in 308