Angels 6, Indians 1
CLEVELAND (AP)—Welcome to the Gnational League.
Washburn (11-5), sidelined since July 20 with an injured rib cage, allowed two hits in five innings as Anaheim stayed four games behind Oakland in the AL West. In his previous start, Washburn gave up 13 hits—four homers—in a loss to Cleveland.
“It felt good to get back at them because they gave me a serious butt-kicking last time,” Washburn said.
Washburn’s return was a good sign for the Angels, who need him for their playoff push. If Anaheim was looking for another omen, it may have arrived in the form of thousands of bugs.
Beginning in the third inning, the unidentified flying objects—they appeared to be gnats—infested the playing field and the lower tier of seats.
“It was disgusting, atrocious,” Angels DH Troy Glaus said. “There were too many to kill. There were millions of them—everywhere.”
Between pitches, batters swatted at the insects and fans used whatever they could to keep the winged critters out of their faces. Glaus had to be attended by a trainer after one of them flew in his eye during an at-bat in the fifth inning.
“On the first pitch, one flew in my ear,” Glaus said. “On the next pitch, one flew into my eye. I just decided to swing at the next one. It was two or three times worse than last night, and none of the bug spray worked on them.”
Unseasonably humid weather brought out the bugs, and relief from them wasn’t easy. Plate umpire Bill Miller received a coating of repellant; ball boys and photographers covered their heads with towels; Indians first-base coach Jeff Datz wiped second baseman Ronnie Belliard’s head after a single; and fans fled to higher seats to escape the swarms.
“It got pretty thick out there,” Indians starter Jason Davis said. “I just tried to use them to my advantage.”
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said players were swallowing the bugs as they ran.
“They’re out in full force, I’ll tell you that,” he said.
Garret Anderson hit an RBI single in the fifth off Davis (2-7), who was making his first start for Cleveland since July 7. The right-hander was demoted to Triple-A Buffalo after going 2-3 with a 6.00 ERA in 18 starts.
The Indians have lost four in a row, and 15 of 19.
Angels third baseman Chone Figgins and shortstop David Eckstein made nice stops in the seventh to preserve Anaheim’s lead. With a runner at first, Figgins robbed Matt Lawton with a dive and threw to second from his knees for a force.
Eckstein then went deep into the hole to backhand Ryan Ludwick’s grounder before making a leaping throw in short left to get Lawton at second.
A two-run, three-base error by Cleveland first baseman Josh Phelps allowed the Angels to take a 2-1 lead in the fourth.
Anaheim made it 3-1 in the fifth when Vladimir Guerrero reached on an infield single, moved up on Davis’ wild pitch and scored on Anderson’s single.
After his encounter with the bug, Glaus was tripped up trying to beat out a grounder. He got up slowly after falling over Phelps’ foot and the bag, and was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh as a precaution with right shoulder irritation.
Glaus underwent shoulder surgery in May and recently returned after missing 97 games.
“I wanted to make sure everything was all right,” said Glaus, who expects to play Sunday. “At this point, we’re keeping an eye on it.”
Coco Crisp put Cleveland ahead 1-0 with an RBI single in the second.
Angels OF Jose Guillen was sent home with a sore wrist that has been diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome. Scioscia said Guillen’s wrist will be examined Monday. … Davis has just three wins in his last 30 starts. … Eckstein had two of Anaheim’s five steals. … Crisp is batting .341 (42-of-123) in his last 32 games. … Indians 3B Casey Blake didn’t start for the first time in 97 games. “I wanted to go for (Cal) Ripken’s record,” he quipped.