<
>

Matthews is offensive, defensive star in Angels' win

• Summary: Gary Matthews Jr. drove in four runs after robbing Boston's Coco Crisp of a home run, and the Angels beat the Red Sox.

• Turning point: In the middle game of a series featuring the teams with the two best records in baseball, the Red Sox took a 4-2 lead in the fifth on Doug Mirabelli's two-run homer and an RBI double by Kevin Youkilis. But the Angels responded with five in the bottom half to pull ahead 7-4.

• Did you see that?: Matthews leaped above the fence to pull back Crisp's bid for his sixth home run, ending the fourth inning.

• Figure this: Youkilis set a Red Sox record for most consecutive fielding chances by a first baseman without an error when he made an unassisted putout on Garret Anderson's grounder in the seventh. Youkilis finished with seven putouts and two assists, extending his streak to 1,305 total chances since his last miscue on July 4, 2006 at Tampa Bay.

• Quotable: "When you play them, the game is at a fast pace. They're so aggressive in all aspects of the game -- hitting, running the bases -- so if you're not ready for it, they can run you into mistakes. And we allowed that to happen a few times." -- Boston manager Terry Francona

-- ESPN.com news services

Angels 10, Red Sox 4

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- On the same night his former baby sitter
broke Hank Aaron's home run record, Gary Matthews Jr. hit one
himself and robbed another player of another.

Matthews drove in four runs after pulling back a drive by
Boston's Coco Crisp, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Boston Red
Sox 10-4 on Tuesday night.

After the game, Matthews' thoughts were on Barry Bonds, whose
father was a teammate of Matthews' dad with the San Francisco
Giants in the 1970s.

"I have a little bit different perspective than most players
because I've known Barry since I was a kid," Matthews said while
sitting on a couch watching replays of Bonds' historic homer on the
clubhouse television. "I mean, I've never hit more than 20 in a
season -- and this guy just passed 755. That's such a great
accomplishment. You can't fathom how many home runs that is."

Joe Saunders (6-0) allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3
innings. With the victory, the Angels maintained a four-game lead
over Seattle in the AL West.

Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (13-10) allowed seven runs -- six
earned -- and seven hits in four-plus innings. Boston's lead in the
AL East, a season-high 12 games as recently July 5, was cut to five
games over the second-place Yankees. It's the smallest lead for the
Red Sox since May 2, when they led by 4½.

In the middle game of a series featuring the teams with the two
best records in baseball, the Red Sox took a 4-2 lead in the fifth
on Doug Mirabelli's two-run homer and an RBI double by
Kevin Youkilis. But the Angels responded with five in the bottom half to
pull ahead 7-4.

Orlando Cabrera burned his former team with an RBI double, and
Matthews put the Angels back in front with a two-run single through
the left side that chased Wakefield. Garret Anderson slid home
under Mirabelli's tag on Maicer Izturis' grounder to second baseman
Dustin Pedroia with the infield in, and Jeff Mathis delivered
Matthews with a squeeze bunt that was ruled a single after reliever
Manny Delcarmen bobbled the ball.

"It happened in a hurry," Boston manager Terry Francona said.
"We have a four-pitch walk, double, walk, error, and so we go to
Delcarmen to stop it right there and it got away.

"When you play them, the game is at a fast pace. They're so
aggressive in all aspects of the game -- hitting, running the bases
-- so if you're not ready for it, they can run you into mistakes.
And we allowed that to happen a few times."

Matthews made his acrobatic catch on Crisp to end the fourth
inning. He did the same thing to Detroit's Craig Monroe on July 27
at Angel Stadium -- only that time, he prevented a grand slam.

"I've gotten pretty good at timing it, but sometimes it's just
a matter of can you get back to the wall in time," Matthews said.
"It's not an easy park to play in because you've got to get back
to the wall so fast and then slow it down a hair so you can time
the jump. No matter how easy people think it is, it's not an easy
play. But I do practice it sometimes in batting practice, so I knew
I had a pretty good shot."

Mathis put the Halos ahead 2-1 in the bottom half of the fourth
with a hit-and-run double. It scored Izturis, whose seventh-inning
homer off Curt Schilling in the series opener was the go-ahead run
in a 4-2 Angels victory.

Matthews hit his 14th home run of the year, a solo shot, in the
bottom of the eighth.

Crisp, who has only one RBI in his last nine games, was robbed
of another one in the sixth. Mike Lowell tried to score from first
on his double to left field, but was erased on a textbook relay
from Anderson to Cabrera to Mathis.

Youkilis set a franchise record for most consecutive fielding
chances by a first baseman without an error when he made an
unassisted putout on Anderson's grounder in the seventh. Youkilis
finished with seven putouts and two assists, extending his streak
to 1,305 total chances since his last miscue on July 4, 2006, at
Tampa Bay. The previous mark of 1,300 straight was set in 1921 by
Stuffy McInnis, whose club record of 117 consecutive errorless
games was shattered by Youkilis earlier this season.

Chone Figgins singled on Wakefield's first pitch of the game and
stole second, making him the first player in the Angels' 47-year
history with four consecutive seasons of 30 or more steals.

Game notes
Mirabelli has caught all 41 of Wakefield's starts since
being reacquired from San Diego on May 1, 2006 for C Josh Bard and
reliever Cla Meredith. The Red Sox had little choice but to bring
Mirabelli back, after Bard had committed 10 passed balls in
Wakefield's first four starts last season. According to the Elias
Sports Bureau, Mirabelli has had 12 passed balls with Wakefield on
the mound since returning to the Sox. ... Figgins' first-inning
steal was the 100th of the season for the Angels, the seventh
straight season they've reached triple digits. They lead the AL and
are attempting to join the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers
as the only franchises in history to lead their league in that
category four years in a row.