Angels 11, Tigers 8
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Mike Scioscia revamped Anaheim’s lineup in an attempt to squeeze more runs out of his stagnant offense. Chone Figgins and the Angels responded in a big way.
Figgins, dropped from second in the batting order to ninth, hit a tiebreaking two-run homer and drove in four runs to lead the Angels to an 11-8 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night.
“It was time to shuffle the deck a little bit because of our lack of consistency,” Scioscia said. “Some guys on our club are having terrific seasons, but we’re underproductive as far as the number of runs this group has generated.
“We have it within us to hit the ball at that pace, but you certainly don’t expect to come out and get 11 runs. And we needed every one of those runs tonight.”
“He was just trying to shake some things up, and it looked like it worked,” Figgins said. “Tonight the guys started feeding off each other, starting with Eck.”
Erstad followed David Eckstein’s first-inning homer with a double and scored on Anderson’s single. Figgins tied it at 4 in the fourth with a two-run single against Detroit starter Nate Robertson, then put the Angels ahead 8-6 in the sixth with a drive into the lower seats in the right-field corner after a leadoff single by Jose Molina.
“We don’t expect Figgy to have four RBIs every night from the nine-hole, but we do expect him to keep that lineup flowing from the nine- to the one-spot and be able to impact the offense in that spot,” Scioscia said. “He’ll still be hitting before some guys we want to drive in runs and getting himself in scoring position.”
Figgins’ fourth homer of the season triggered a five-run inning against rookie Roberto Novoa (1-1).
“I finally kept one fair,” joked Figgins, who has pulled a number of pitches on the wrong side of the right-field pole this season. “No matter where you hit in the lineup, you want to contribute to the team. As long as I’m in the lineup, it doesn’t matter where I’m batting.”
The other runs in the sixth came on RBI singles by Jose Guillen and Tim Salmon, and a sacrifice fly by Anderson. Guillen and Robb Quinlan also homered for the Angels, whose other four-homer game this season was at Dodger Stadium on June 25.
Francisco Rodriguez inherited a bases-loaded, one-out jam from Brendan Donnelly in the eighth and got out of it by striking out Ivan Rodriguez and White. The right-hander finished up with a scoreless ninth for his ninth save in 15 chances.
“He’s the nastiest pitcher in baseball,” White said. “That curveball’s unhittable. You just battle and try to do the best you can, but good pitching will stop good hitting at any time, so my hat’s off to him. He did what he needed to do.”
Trailing 6-4, Anaheim tied it in the fifth when Guillen homered to center with one out and Quinlan homered to left-center with two outs.
In the sixth, Gregg walked his first two batters but Quinlan charged in from his third base position and caught Jason Smith’s attempted sacrifice bunt on the fly, doubling up rookie Nook Logan at first base, and Carlos Guillen grounded out.
White hit his 18th homer with two outs in the fifth, giving the Tigers a 5-4 lead after the Angels tied it with two runs in the fourth. Pena walked and scored on a double by Craig Monroe that chased Ortiz.
The Tigers pulled ahead 4-2 with three runs in the top of the fourth. After Pena homered, Monroe walked, stole second and advanced on a passed ball before Brandon Inge singled him home. Inge scored from second on Smith’s single after a sacrifice bunt by Logan.
Pena drew a leadoff walk in the second and came around on Marcus Thames’ one-out double. Thames started in left field after DH Dmitri Young was scratched just before gametime because of a bruised right shin.
Eckstein’s homer was his first since June 25, 2003, against Seattle’s Matthew White, and snapped an 0-for-16 drought.
Salmon beat out an infield single to shortstop in the first inning for his 100th career hit against the Tigers. The only AL team he hasn’t reached that figure against is Tampa Bay, which has played only 66 games against the Angels since entering the league in 1998. … Tigers RF Bobby Higginson, mired in a 3-for-33 slump and batting .159 since July 1, sat against a right-handed starter for the third time this week despite the fact that he was 9-for-16 against Ortiz with two homers.