Tigers 2, Angels 1
The four-time All-Star reliever returned to the scene of his greatest triumphs, pitching from the same mound on which he notched his 300th career save and recorded the final out of the 2002 World Series. He threw 12 pitches and closed out a 2-1 victory for Jeremy Bonderman and the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night.
“I was glad to get out there and help our team get a win because we desperately needed it,” Percival said. “And with the way Bonderman pitched, you hate to give up those kind of games—because that was an awesome effort.”
Percival, the Angels’ career leader in saves with 316, signed with Detroit as a free agent after the Angels decided to promote Francisco Rodriguez from setup man to closer. The 35-year-old right-hander got a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 43,876 on his way to the mound for the ninth while his protege was warming up in the Angels’ bullpen.
“I didn’t notice the standing part, but I could definitely hear them,” Percival said. “It’s really appreciated, just knowing that they appreciate the work I did when I was here and that I gave everything I had every day. I know they weren’t cheering for us to win. That was purely recognizing what I had done here.”
Percival got Chone Figgins to fly out to right before allowing a single to Vladimir Guerrero. Garret Anderson, Percival’s teammate for nine full seasons, swung at a 91-mph fastball on the first pitch and flied out to left before Steve Finley popped to short for the final out.
“It didn’t surprise me that Garret swung at the first one because he knows me and he knows I’m going down and away right there,” Percival said. “If he gets his pass on that ball, he’s going to hit it, but I took my chances.
“I knew he was coming out there to hit it. I know he likes to take a pitch in that situation, so I figured he might be changing his approach right there. But I didn’t want to change my game plan.”
Bonderman (5-2) shrugged off a leadoff homer in the third by Angels rookie Dallas McPherson, pitching four-hit ball over eight innings while striking out eight and walking one.
The 22-year-old right-hander’s third straight victory matched the longest winning streak of his career. Bonderman lost 19 games as a rookie in 2003 and was 11-13 last season.
Angels starter Bartolo Colon (4-3) threw seven scoreless innings before Detroit grabbed the lead with a pair of runs in the eighth. The right-hander went the distance for the first time in two seasons with the Angels, throwing 106 pitches and allowing eight hits and no walks while striking out six.
The balk was only the fifth by Colon in 1,644 2-3 career innings.
“I’m still wondering what I did wrong,” Colon said through a translator. “I don’t know what they saw, but I do not feel like I balked. It hurt because they got the guy to second base and it changed the complexion of the inning.”
The victory ended a four-game skid by the Tigers, but right fielder Craig Monroe and manager Alan Trammell weren’t around to see the finish. They were ejected after a bang-bang play at first base in the fifth.
Monroe was called out by umpire Derryl Cousins after Orlando Cabrera made a leaping off-balance throw from deep shortstop. Monroe slammed his helmet after crossing the bag and was immediately tossed.
“Sometimes you get caught up in the game,” said Monroe, back in the lineup after missing Friday night’s game with a groin strain. “I had been sitting a couple of days just watching, and we just hadn’t been getting any breaks. I have emotions and I’m an emotional player. Maybe it wasn’t the best time, being short-handed with guys, but I believed I was safe.”
Trammell made sure he followed Monroe by tossing his cap away after at least two solid minutes in Cousins’ face.
“I was disappointed in Derryl, just because he ejected him for tossing his helmet,” Trammell said. “Players toss helmets and just get equipment violation and a fine, so I thought that should have been the case. I didn’t feel that it was qualified for an ejection. I’ve seen a lot worse.”
The next two batters singled after Trammell’s first ejection of the season and seventh as Tigers manager—but Colon ended the inning by picking off Logan at first with Inge at the plate and a runner at third.
RHP Kelvim Escobar won the Angels’ Kentucky Derby pool when 50-1 shot Giacomo beat 19 other horses. Reliever Scot Shields had Yankees owner George Steinbrenner’s horse, Bellamy Road. … The Angels are the only team in the majors with no home runs from their designated hitters. … The Tigers have won only four of their last 26 meetings with the Angels, and just 12 of the last 46 at Anaheim.