ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Garret Anderson has earned the admiration of his Angels teammates for his talents—and the ability to stay healthy through this injury-plagued season.
Anderson, who has never been on the disabled list since making his big league debut in 1994, became the franchise’s career hits leader Sunday and threw out the potential tying run at the plate as Anaheim beat the Detroit Tigers 11-6 for its fifth straight victory.
“He’s Mr. Consistent,” shortstop David Eckstein said. “He comes to the park every day and gives you an honest effort day in and day out, no matter if he has some kind of nagging hurt. He just keeps playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”
Anderson was 3-for-5, including a two-run double during a five-run seventh inning, increasing his career hits total to 1,591. The All-Star MVP and Home Run Derby champ tied Brian Downing’s club mark for hits with an infield single Saturday night, then broke it in the first inning with another infield hit to second base.
“It’s something he’s very proud of, and he should be. But I think he would much rather us be in first place than to have that record,” teammate Jarrod Washburn said.
“I didn’t see all the guys who have ever worn an Angels uniform, but he’s one of the best hitters in the game today. I think he’s going to add a lot of distance between him and the second-place guy before it’s all said and done. He’s fun to watch every day.”
The self-effacing Anderson, who didn’t stick around to talk about his latest accomplishment, preserved a 4-3 lead for Ramon Ortiz in the fifth when he charged a one-out single by Dmitri Young and made a one-hop throw to the plate that just beat a sliding Warren Morris.
Adam Kennedy was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer, Scott Spiezio went 3-for-5 with a solo shot and Chone Figgins drove in three runs with a pair of singles, helping Anaheim complete a three-game sweep that extended its winning streak against Detroit to 11 games.
Anaheim has won five straight games for the first time since a five-game stretch leading into the All-Star break. But between those streaks, the injury-riddled Angels lost 21 of 27 to fall out of playoff contention.
The Tigers have lost five straight overall. At 31-91, they have one more win after 122 games than the 1962 New York Mets, who hold the major league record with 120 losses.
That didn’t matter to the defending World Series champions, who stole six bases—one short of the club record set on Aug. 25, 1981, against Boston. Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia can’t muster much sympathy for Alan Trammell’s beleaguered team—especially with the season his own team is having.
“You never feel sorry for a club,” Scioscia said. “I think we all respect how hard they’re playing and what they’re going through, and I’m sure it’s difficult for them to look at the standings and their record every day.
“But those games could have changed on a dime and we could have lost them. So when you’re at the major league level and you’re talking about winning and losing, that’s baseball.”
Ortiz (14-10) allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings, striking out five and walking three.
Jeremy Bonderman (6-16) pitched five innings and allowed four runs on eight hits. The rookie right-hander allowed more than three earned runs for only the third time in his last 13 starts.
“He has a stiff neck and he was trying to get through it,” Trammell said. “He was a little inconsistent, but I think it had more to do with the Angels. They were kind of grinding on us for three games. When you put pressure on us, it’s not something we respond to as well as I’d certainly like.”
Brandon Inge, who has hit safely in a career-high 10 straight games since being recalled from Triple-A Toledo, drove in three runs for Detroit. Bobby Higginson, who homered in every game of the series, opened the scoring in thefirst with his 12th homer and seventh in 19 games.
Downing, who played on all three of the Angels’ division championship teams, set the previous hits record on June 14, 1989, with a single against Nolan Ryan at Texas—eclipsing Jim Fregosi’s 1,408 hits. It happened the same summer that Anderson won the Los Angeles city championship with Kennedy High School in Granada Hills, Calif. … The Tigers have only one home run all season from their center fielders. … After the game, the Tigers optioned RHP Chris Mears to Triple-A Toledo and will call up LHP Nate Robertson from theMudhens to start against Texas at Comerica Park on Monday.