Angels 5, Royals 3

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Bengie Molina stood in there at home plate and did his manager proud.

Molina withstood a violent collision with Ken Harvey to cut short a Kansas City rally, setting the stage for Shawn Wooten’s sixth-inning homer that sent the Anaheim Angels to a 5-3 win over the Royals on Wednesday night.

Molina’s game-turning play occurred after Kansas City scored three times in the top of the sixth to take a 3-2 lead. The Royals chased Anaheim starter Kevin Appier with a triple by Desi Relaford, an RBI single by Carlos Beltran and a single by Raul Ibanez.

Harvey then hit a tying double off Francisco Rodriguez (5-1). After Angel Berroa’s sacrifice fly, Brent Mayne drew an intentional walk and the Royals tried to manufacture another run with some baserunning trickery.

Mayne coaxed a throw to second from Rodriguez and stopped about 30 feet short of the bag, and Harvey came charging down the third base line toward home. The return throw arrived in time, and the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Harvey couldn’t knock the ball free from Molina.

“That was a heck of a play—especially for Bengie to hang in there like he did after getting hit last week in Oakland,” said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. “That’s good old-fashioned hardball. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a clean play.”

Scioscia said it reminded him of his most violent collision as a two-time All-Star catcher with the Dodgers.

“The toughest one for me was with Chili Davis,” Scioscia recalled. “This guy was built like Apollo Creed and he could run like Carl Lewis. He put a lean on me one day—he ended up separating his shoulder and I was seeing stars for about a week. I didn’t even know what I did that week, but they said I hit the ball pretty well.”

The Angels took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning against Jeremy Affeldt (5-5). Tim Salmon and Garret Anderson opened the inning with singles, and Wooten snuck a 2-2 pitch just inside the left-field pole one out later.

“I’ve been living down that pole this year, for whatever reason,” Wooten said. “When you hit a ball down the line, who knows if it’s going to stay fair or hook? I just waited for the fans to react and then I knew.”

Rodriguez (5-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the win, allowing two hits. All-Star Brendan Donnelly pitched the eighth, and Troy Percival pitched a shaky ninth for his 20th save.

Kansas City put runners on first and second with nobody out in the ninth, but Aaron Guiel flied to deep right, and Jarrod Patterson was thrown out at second after tagging up.

Appier was charged with three runs and six hits in five-plus innings.

Affeldt allowed five runs and nine hits over six innings.

Notes

During the second inning, the Angels announced that club vice president and general manager Bill Stoneman was signed to a four-year contract extension through the 2007 season—and that he would spend the following three as team consultant. … The Royals (48-40) need to go 40-34 the rest of the way to break the major league record for most victories by any team after a 100-loss season, The 1967 Cubs and 1989 Orioles both won 87. … Troy Glaus played in his 750th game at 3B for the Angels, breaking Doug DeCinces’ franchise recordat that position.

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