Angels 5, Phillies 3
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Closer Troy Percival has been getting important outs a lot longer than the rest of the Anaheim Angels’ bullpen, so naturally he gets most of the headlines. For Ben Weber and Brendan Donnelly, it’s just a matter of time.
Weber and Donnelly both got out of late-inning jams before Percival got his 10th save in 11 changes, pitching a hitless ninth to preserve a 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night.
“It’s tough to give guys a lot of praise after they go out and do it for a year and a half. I think that comes with doing the job over a period of time,” said Percival, a four-time All-Star. “But now these guys are starting to come into their own and people are recognizing the quality pitchers we have down there who are not afraid to come on in any situation.
“Donnelly’s starting to get quite a bit of attention now, and he’s well-deserved because he’s pitching lights-out—which he did all year last year. Weber’s the guy who really gets ignored because he’s 16-4 with a mid-2 ERA since he’s been here.”
Bengie Molina hit a two-run go-ahead single in the sixth and Benji Gil hit his first home run of the season, helping the defending World Series champions win for the eighth time in 11 games and take the rubber game of their first interleague series with the Phillies.
Weber (2-0) struck out all three batters he faced after relieving starter Kevin Appier with two outs and two on in the sixth. The right-hander with the herky-jerk delivery ended the sixth by fanning Marlon Byrd, who singled and doubled off Appier.
“What makes Weber so effective is the movement on his pitches,” Percival said. “When you throw 89-92 mph with a ball that moves across the entire length of the plate—and be able to control it—that’s pretty impressive. He battles and he never gives in.”
The Phillies pushed across a run in the eighth when Bobby Abreu beat out a high chopper off the plate for a hit, Mike Lieberthal followed with a bloop single and Jason Michaels had an RBI groundout. But Donnelly slipped a called third strike past Byrd to end the threat.
Brett Myers (5-6) took a 2-1 lead into the sixth before giving up singles to Garret Anderson and Brad Fullmer and walking Adam Kennedy to load the bases with one out. Molina gave the Angels a 3-2 lead with a single to left-center and Gil followed with a drive over the fence in left-center that chased Myers.
It was Gil’s first home run since last Aug. 8. He started at shortstop in place of David Eckstein, who did not start for the sixth straight game because of a deep bone bruise on his left hand. Eckstein is expected to return to the lineup Friday.
“I’ve been swinging the bat a little bit better lately, but I wasn’t getting any results,” Gil said. “I’ve been feeling great in batting practice and making a lot of progress. Tonight I got a pitch I could handle and fortunately it worked out so that I could help the team. I’m a better hitter than I’ve shown. Maybe this will turn things around.”
Myers was charged with five runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings, after allowing five runs over four innings in his previous start against Oakland.
“I made some pretty good pitches, but they just found the holes,” Myers said. “I haven’t had the best of luck against these American League teams. They swing the bats and you’ve got to face nine hitters instead of eight. They’re hitting the mistakes that I make.”
The Phillies took their one-run lead with consecutive RBI singles by Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco in the fifth. It could have been worse, but first-base umpire Jim Wolf appeared to miss a call on Michaels’ leadoff grounder to third base. He ruled Michaels out after Troy Glaus’ throw seemed to pull Spiezio off the bag as Spiezio dove to catch the ball. Wolf is the brotherof Phillies pitcher Randy Wolf.
The Angels were no-hit by four Oakland pitchers in a 5-0 loss on the final day of the 1975 season—Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott, Paul Lindblad and Rollie Fingers. That was the major league record until Wednesday night, when six Houston pitchers combined to no-hit the Yankees at New York. … Only two men have managed both the Angels and Phillies—Gene Mauch and Jim Fregosi. … Polanco’s hit made him 9-for-13 against Appier, who was charged with two runs and six hits over 5 2-3 innings. … INF John Valentin and agent Jeff Moorad have done an about-face after agreeing Wednesday to a Triple-A contract with the Phillies’ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team—one day before Valentine wasscheduled to report.