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With alma mater on his mind, Saunders gives Angels a lift

• Hero: Angels starter Joe Saunders. Wearing a Hokie cap thanks to Bud Selig's blessing, the majors' lone former Virginia Tech player pitched six scoreless innings for his second win.

• Goat: Batista. Now 1-2 with an 8.83 ERA ... wait, doesn't every Seattle starter not nicknamed "King Felix" have an ERA approaching 8?

• Figure this: Angels leadoff hitter Gary Matthews Jr.'s average is down to .217 after another 0-for-4. He's 3-for-his-last-24 with zeroes for runs scored, RBI and stolen bases.

• Quotable: "I was really nervous coming in -- just the sheer fact of
knowing what the game meant to me, to all the Hokie Nation out there in Virginia, to my family, and to this team because we needed to win. There was a lot riding on it.'' -- Joe Saunders

-- ESPN.com news services

Angels 8, Mariners 4

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Joe Saunders wore his old college cap,
wrote "VT" on his cleats and scribbled "Virginia Tech" in the
dirt on the mound.

Then the only Hokies' alumnus currently in the majors finished
up his tribute by pitching six scoreless innings Friday night in
the Los Angeles Angels' 8-4 victory over Seattle on Friday night.

"I was really nervous coming in -- just the sheer fact of
knowing what the game meant to me, to all the Hokie Nation out
there in Virginia, to my family, and to this team because we needed
to win.

"There was a lot riding on it."

Most of all, there was his honoring the memory of the 32 victims
shot to death on the Virginia Tech campus last Monday.

He said the game finished his tribute, but that the shooting
"is always going to be in the back of my mind. Both my mother and
father and my uncle went there. The family's got a lot of history
there."

"So this was pretty special," added Saunders, drafted by the
Angels out of the school in 2002.

During a moment of silence for them before the game, Saunders
seemed near tears.

Commissioner Bud Selig had given him special permission to wear
the school cap, and Saunders said, "I can't thank him enough for
that."

Although he gave up seven hits, Saunders pitched out of trouble
and got good defensive support -- including line drives to first
base that set up double plays in the second and third innings.

"I think somebody upstairs was looking after me tonight, and
everybody in Blacksburg was looking after me," he said. "My heart
was out to them."

Saunders (2-0) walked two and struck out one as the Angels ended
a six-game losing streak.

Seattle's Richie Sexson complimented Saunders on his outing.

"It's got to be tough for him, having gone to school there.
He's got a heavy heart, I'm sure, but he did a good job and battled
through it," Sexson said.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia also said Saunders did a good job
in an emotional situation.

"This was a tough week for Joe, and understandably so,"
Scioscia said. "As traumatic as it is for all of us to see what
happened, it hasn't affected all of our families. He was connected
with that school, with that campus.

"He was shaken, but he wanted to pitch and he knew that his
wearing the hat would be a symbol to show everyone his sentiments
for that school. It was a great touch. Joe's a classy guy and he
pitched great under the circumstances."

Vladimir Guerrero, back after missing two games with a bruised
right wrist, hit a solo homer and went 3-for-5. He had left
Monday's game in Boston with when a pitch by Josh Beckett struck
him.

The Angels scored two runs in both the first and third innings
against Miguel Batista (1-2), and Guerrero's fourth homer made it
5-0 in the fifth. Batista gave up six runs on 10 hits, including a
solo homer by Mike Napoli in the sixth as the Mariners lost their
fourth straight.

Seattle's Jose Guillen, who has said he would never forgive
Scioscia for throwing him off the team after a blowup late in the
2004 season, went 2-for-4 in his second trip to Anaheim since
then.

Game notes:
Scioscia said before the game that Guillen had
"flip-flopped" in his attitude about him and the Angels, saying,
"Everything was fine when he was traded. I spoke to Jose two times
the day he was traded, and he said publicly that he was accountable
for what happened. He took anger management, said how much he loved
us, regretted the incident, took responsibility for the incident,
and said he had moved on." ... Former Angels SS Gary DiSarcina was
named manager of the Boston Red Sox's Class-A team in Lowell, Mass.
... Seattle LHP Eric O'Flaherty was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma
for bullpen depth. ... The Angels recalled INF Kendry Morales from
Triple-A Salt Lake to replace the injured Howie Kendrick on the
roster.