Fullmer hit a two-run triple and a single during a seven-run
sixth inning that propelled the playoff-bound Angels to an 8-4
victory Sunday over the Seattle Mariners.
Last year, manager Mike Scioscia used 15 different players in
the DH spot after losing Mo Vaughn for the season with an injury.
Those 15 players combined for only 10 home runs and 56 RBI in that
Fullmer, who sometimes spells Scott Spiezio at first base, is
hitting .287 with 18 homers and 58 RBI. In his 88 starts as the
DH, Fullmer is hitting .277 with 11 homers and 47 RBI.
"Having a primary DH, somebody who can mentally handle it and
feels very comfortable doing it, has added production and also
added stability to our lineup,'' Scioscia said. "That's why we've
rebounded this year from an offensive standpoint -- because that was
something that the club wasn't really accustomed to for a couple of
Fullmer, who had a career-high 104 RBI two seasons ago with
Toronto, has emerged as one of Anaheim's most productive offensive
threats over the past two months. And the versatility he gives the
Angels at first base against right-handed pitchers allowed their
outfielders to take a day off on defense and swing the bat as the
Fullmer leads the team with a .365 average in September and has
been invaluable as protection behind Garret Anderson, who is
hitting .306 with 29 homers and 122 RBI.
"Anybody who hits behind Garret, which Brad has been doing, has
to be enough of a force so that Garret can get some pitches to hit.
And he's doing that,'' Scioscia said.
The Angels, who wrapped up the AL wild-card berth with three
games to spare, extended a team record with their 98th victory.
They also matched a club mark of 53 home wins set in 1967.
Mickey Callaway (2-1) allowed three runs and eight hits in eight
innings after being staked to an 8-0 lead against a Mariners lineup
peppered with reserves.
Callaway gave up a single to Luis Ugueto and a walk to Willie
Bloomquist to open the game, then fell behind 2-0 against Desi
Relaford before pitching coach Bud Black came to the mound for a
chat. Callaway retired 17 of his next 18 batters before Relaford
led off the seventh with a single.
Seattle manager Lou Piniella, back in the dugout after a
one-game suspension, used a starting lineup in which six of his
eight position players had fewer than six starts this season at
their respective spots.
Catcher Dan Wilson made his first start at first base, as did
Scott Podsednik in right field and Ugueto at shortstop. Podsednik
and Ugueto each committed an error, with Ugueto's miscue leading to
six unearned runs in Anaheim's seven-run rally.
Ryan Franklin (7-5) was charged with eight runs -- two earned --
and 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings. He finished his season with a 4.02
earned-run average in 41 appearances, including 12 starts.
Scott Spiezio followed Fullmer's leadoff single in the sixth
with a routine grounder to Ugueto, who looked toward second for a
possible force, then had trouble getting the ball out of his glove
and threw late to first.
Shawn Wooten and Adam Kennedy followed with RBI singles before
Franklin retired the next two batters. But the right-hander
surrendered three straight hits after that -- including a high
chopper to the right of the mound by Orlando Palmeiro for an
infield single that scored two runs -- and an RBI single by Julio
Ramirez that chased Franklin and made it 6-0.
Fullmer then greeted Shigetoshi Hasegawa with a two-run triple.
"It didn't look like a seven-run inning, but that's what it
amounted to,'' Piniella said. "I felt bad for Franklin because we
just don't have much pitching left in that bullpen.''
Podsednik hit his first major league home run, off Angels closer
Troy Percival in the ninth.
Anaheim, which clinched the AL wild card on Thursday with three
games to spare, will start right-hander Aaron Sele in Sunday's
regular-season finale -- his first appearance since tearing his
rotator cuff on Aug. 20. Then it's onto the Division Series for the
Angels, who will start Jarrod Washburn in Game 1 at Yankee
Anaheim is the only playoff-bound team in either league
that has not had anyone honored as player of the week. ... Angels
bullpen coach Bobby Ramos will be making his first trip to the
postseason since 1981, when he was a backup catcher for Montreal.
... The Angels have not had a 20-game winner in any of the four
seasons in which they've qualified for the postseason. ... Scioscia
is going into the ALDS with a six-man bullpen that does not include
LHP Dennis Cook, who has not allowed a run in 16 1/3 innings of
postseason play spanning 19 appearances. One of Anaheim's relievers
will be rookie Francisco Rodriguez, who has 13 strikeouts in just 5
2/3 innings. ... Mariners 2B Bret Boone sat out because of a
bruised right heel he aggravated while running out a double-play
grounder Friday night.