ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Orlando Cabrera already felt at home among his Los Angeles Angels teammates. He wanted to show the fans that his acquisition was worth cutting loose popular shortstop David Eckstein.
Cabrera homered leading off the bottom of the 10th inning to cap the Angels’ rally from a 5-0 deficit in a 6-5 win over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night.
After helping Boston win its first World Series in 86 years, Cabrera signed a four-year, $32 million deal with the Angels in December, and Eckstein went to St. Louis.
“For the fans, I didn’t get a big hit until tonight,” Cabrera said. “That was a good feeling. This a big park. I try not to think, `Hit the ball out of the park’ all the time. I’m not anxious anymore.”
Cabrera hit a 3-1 pitch into the lower seats in the left-field corner against Jason Davis (1-1), the seventh Cleveland pitcher.
“In that situation, you’ve got to attack him and stay with your strengths,” Davis said. “It was supposed to be away, but it came back across the middle of the plate and he hit it out of the park.”
Francisco Rodriguez (1-0) pitched a perfect 10th inning for the victory.
“We have one of the best bullpens in the league,” Cabrera said. “Every time they keep us in the game.”
The Angels tied the game at 5 on Garret Anderson’s bloop single to center off Bob Wickman with two outs in the ninth. Darin Erstad walked and was sacrificed to second by Juan Rivera before Vladimir Guerrero struck out.
“Anytime you get the leadoff hitter on, it changes the complexion of the entire inning and you’ve got to work that much harder to keep them from scoring,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said.
The blown save was Wickman’s second in six tries.
“He’s a good hitter and he got me,” Wickman said. “That was a good pitch. It was down and I ended up breaking his bat. I throw one down the middle, the guy pops it up and gets a base hit out of it. That’s what’s tough about this game and what’s great about this game.”
“I made two mistakes. Both pitches were changeups in the middle of the plate and they made me pay for it,” Washburn said.
Cleveland starter Kevin Millwood gave up three runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings, struck out five and walked two. The Indians have lost all four of Millwood’s starts.
The Indians had 13 hits, just their third game this season with 10 or more. They had been limited to four hits or less three times in their first 15 games.
But their run production shut down after the second inning.
“Washburn made some adjustments and we didn’t make any adjustments back,” Wedge said. “We’ve got to do a better job of putting a complete game together when it comes to what we’re trying to do offensively. We’ve got a ways to go to get to that.”
Washburn gave up five runs and 10 hits in five innings and struck out five. The left-hander has had a no-decision in each of his four starts—all of them coming in extra-inning games.
“Hopefully it’s not a trend that continues,” he said. “The bullpen did an unbelievable job and the guys just kept battling back, scrapping for runs.”
Jose Molina’s RBI single off Bob Howry cut the Angels’ deficit to 5-4 in the eighth. Then Howry helped himself out of a jam by fielding Chone Figgins’ comebacker to start a double play that ended the inning.
The Angels scored in consecutive innings to trail 5-3. Their first run came on Guerrero’s RBI groundout in the third. Millwood walked Molina to load the bases in the fourth, leading to Figgins’ sacrifice fly and Erstad’s RBI double down the left-field line.
Ten of the Indians’ 16 games have been decided by one run and they are 3-7. … Crisp was ejected in the ninth by plate umpire Tim Timmons for arguing after he struck out on a checked swing. He threw his bat and slammed his helmet to the field before storming to the dugout. … Washburn reached the 1,000-inning mark for his career. … The Angels swept the two-game series. … It was the third time in 16 games that Guerrero didn’t get a hit.