DETROIT (AP) -- Even with shaky defense and just a couple runs of
support, Kelvim Escobar was dominant enough to prevent the Detroit
Tigers from breaking out of their slump.
Kelvim Escobar earned the victory for the Angels on Sunday night, improving his unblemished career mark against the Tigers to 8-0. Only three other active pitchers have at least eight career victories against a team that's never beaten them. Randy Johnson is 12-0 against the Cubs, Jason Schmidt is 8-0 vs. the Marlins and David Weathers is 8-0 against his current team, the Reds.
Escobar gave up only an unearned run, overcame three errors and
Vladimir Guerrero homered to help the Angels beat Detroit 2-1 on
Sunday night."That's an incredible game from Kelvim," Los Angeles manager
Mike Scioscia said. "We didn't play real well behind him, and he
stepped up and made the pitches we needed."Guerrero tied the game with a shot over the left-field fence in
the fourth inning. Orlando Cabrera's RBI single in the fifth put
the Angels ahead, making up for his error in the third that led to
Detroit's lone run."When the guys make mistakes, it doesn't bother me," Escobar
said. "I know I have to forget about it and just keep pitching."Escobar (10-12) allowed two hits and two walks in eight innings
while striking out seven. He had lost his previous two starts."He's getting back to where he was a couple years ago,"
Scioscia said.Escobar was 13-9 for Toronto in 2003 and was a combined 14-14
the next two years for the Angels."When I have fastball command, it makes it easy for me because
I can use my secondary pitches," he said. "My secondary pitches
are as good as anyone's in the league."Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his 38th save in 41
chances, extending his scoreless streak to 24 1-3 innings over 24
outings. After Magglio Ordonez's leadoff single, Rodriguez retired
three in a row.Los Angeles has won three of four and is 7½ games behind AL
West-leading Oakland.Detroit's AL Central lead remains 4½ games over the Chicago
White Sox and five games ahead of the Minnesota Twins.The Tigers have won just eight of 25 games since building a
10-game lead last month, but still have a relatively comfortable
lead because Chicago and Minnesota have both gone 5-5 in their last
10 games."Why would we be nervous? We're still up 4½," Detroit catcher
Ivan Rodriguez said.Wilfredo Ledezma (2-2) allowed two runs, three hits and three
walks over six innings. He joined the rotation in his previous
start, a 5-3 win against the New York Yankees on Wednesday, in
place of the slumping Zach Miner and injured Mike Maroth.Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney combined to pitch three shutout
innings to give Detroit a chance to win their eighth game when
trailing after eight innings, but it couldn't take advantage of a
leadoff single in the ninth."You can't be tipping your hat to the opposing pitchers every
night," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Sooner or later, you
have to hit good pitching if you're going to win anything."Escobar did not give up a hit until he faced Ramon Santiago, the
ninth batter in Detroit's lineup, with one out in the third.
Santiago singled, stole second, advanced on a two-out error by
Cabrera at shortstop and scored on Ordonez's bases-loaded single.
Left fielder Juan Rivera threw out Craig Monroe at the plate, and
Leyland didn't have any problem with third-base coach Gene Lamont
waving him home."It's a good call with two outs," Leyland said. "You have to
make them make the play, and they did."On the first pitch of the fourth inning, Guerrero made it 1-all
with a line drive that just cleared the left-field fence and
extended his hitting streak to a season-best 20 games."It went out of the ballpark like a missile," Leyland said.
The Tigers hosted a nationally televised game on Sunday
night for the first time in five years, the second time since
Comerica Park opened in 2000 and just the third time since 1996.
... With Detroit SS Carlos Guillen (right hamstring) out
indefinitely, Detroit purchased the contract of INF Kevin Hooper
from Triple-A Toledo and designated INF Don Kelly for assignment.
2B Placido Polanco (left shoulder) is expected to be out for two
more weeks, hurting the Tigers in the middle of their infield. ...
Angels DH Garret Anderson (left quadriceps) was a late scratch and
3B Maicer Izturis (hamstring) was out of the lineup. ... The
Angeles have not lost a season series against Detroit since 1997.