Final

Series: Game 4 of 4

LA Angels won 3-1

Game 1: Monday, September 22
LA Angels2Final
Seattle1
Game 2: Tuesday, September 23
LA Angels6Final
Seattle9
Game 3: Wednesday, September 24
LA Angels6Final
Seattle5
Game 4: Thursday, September 25
LA Angels6Final
Seattle4

Angels 6

(99-60, 50-31 away)

Mariners 4

(58-101, 32-46 home)

    10:10 PM ET, September 25, 2008

    Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington 

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    LAA 010002102 6 11 1
    SEA 200000200 4 8 0

    W: J. Arredondo (10-2)

    L: J. Putz (6-5)

    S: S. Shields (4)

    Vlad hits 2 homers and Angels move closer to home-field edge

    Associated Press

    SEATTLE -- Vladimir Guerrero's latest big game was so impressive that Torii Hunter wanted no part of hitting behind him.

    Guerrero hit two home runs -- including a two-run shot in the ninth inning -- and the Los Angeles Angels moved closer to securing home field throughout the playoffs with a 6-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night.

    "I don't know how he gets to those [pitches]," Hunter said. "You people don't understand how hard it is to hit behind him after he puts on a show like that. [Wednesday] he hit a ball that could have been a home run and it was in the dirt. I saw dirt come off the bat. I thought, 'Wow, how can I back up that?'"

    With the victory, Los Angeles (99-60) closed in on the best record in the American League and home-field advantage. Tampa Bay (96-63), which lost to Detroit 7-5, is three games back with three to play.

    The Angels also matched the franchise record for wins in a season, set by the 2002 team that won the World Series, and extended the franchise record for road wins to 50.

    Jose Arredondo (10-2), who allowed a tying two-run homer to Yuniesky Betancourt in the seventh, was the winner. Scot Shields got three outs to earn his fourth save.

    Mark Teixeira hit a one-out single off J.J. Putz (6-5) in the ninth and was replaced by a pinch runner before Guerrero drove the first pitch from the Seattle closer into the bullpen in left for his 27th homer and his 36th multihomer game.

    "I've pitched him there many times and got groundballs pitching up and in like that," said Putz, who had held Guerrero to five singles in 15 previous at-bats. "It didn't even sound good. The guys on the bench said they thought it broke his bat.

    "You can't really throw him a pitch he doesn't like -- but that is what makes him so good. He is so strong -- a very tough guy to pitch."

    Guerrero, who was 7-for-15 in the series with five RBIs, has a career .363 average against Seattle with 26 homers and 77 RBIs.

    "He doesn't discriminate when it comes to teams," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's having a pretty good career against a lot of teams and a lot of pitchers."

    Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki singled to left in the first for his 1,800th hit in his eight-year major league career. He is the quickest to that level for any player starting his career after 1954. He reached it in 1,277 games. Wade Boggs is second best at 1,352 games.

    Betancourt then walked and Raul Ibanez singled in Suzuki. With two outs, Wladimir Balentien doubled down the left-field line to make it 2-0.

    Down 2-1 entering the sixth, Guerrero led off with a homer off Randy Messenger. The ball appeared to bounce off the glove of right fielder Balentien, into the stands and then back onto the field. Mariners manager Jim Riggleman came out to protest but was satisfied by umpire Chuck Meriwether's explanation without going to a replay for the second straight night.

    Hunter then singled to left, stole second and advanced to third on Howie Kendrick's flyout. With the infield in, Gary Matthews Jr. hit a hard grounder to second baseman Luis Valbuena, who quickly threw home. But Hunter eluded Kenji Johjima's sweep tag for a 3-2 lead.

    Hunter also singled in a run in the seventh for Los Angeles, which will host Texas in a weekend series to close the regular season.

    "That's what we been fighting for, getting 100 wins," Hunter said. "For this organization, it's going to mean a lot. For me, it's going to mean a lot because I don't think I ever won 100 games when I was in Minnesota. We still have a lot of things to fight for, 100 games, home-field advantage. We have stuff to push for."

    Game notes


    Scioscia, who has two quality catchers in Mike Napoli and Jeff Mathis, is leaning toward certain tandems for the postseason. "I feel good interchanging those guys with anybody but the matchups on the pitcher-catcher end just really points to Ervin (Santana) and Jeff, who do a great job together, and Mike and John (Lackey)." Lackey and Santana will likely start the first two games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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